Okay, it's 420 baking time!!!
How to make really great "Magic Brownies":
I have been working on my process for making brownies for a while now, and finally took the time to take a couple of photos, and make some more detailed notes about the process. I've been studying, practicing, and testing this process for a while now, and I've picked up a lot of tricks from several different people with much more experience than I in this. Some of the science I understand, some I don't, but I DO know that this recipe works phenomenally, and I wanted to share it so others can have as much fun with it as I do...
Basically what we'll be doing is making a cannabis infused cooking oil, to be used with brownies in this case. I followed my recipe to the letter a couple of days ago, and took a few photos. This recipe will help you make really great brownies, and it works very, very well.
It should be noted that, while I'm making brownies for the purposes of this recipe, the cannabis infused oil we're making could be used for many other recipes containing cooking oil. Brownies are nice because the marijuana flavors blend nicely with the brownie flavor, but I sometimes use the oil I make for things like cookies, etc.
There are simpler recipes for making pot brownies, but the few extra steps in mine make a really big difference in the potency and quality. It's not as complicated as it looks or sounds, and is all easy to do. For example, you can skip the "decarbing" process and just heat the ground herb in oil, but your high will be weaker, and potency will not be as good. Also, the Soy Lecithin is an optional step, BUT, since I've added this to the recipe, the end effect is nearly twice as potent brownies. It makes an incredible diference, and I would encourage everyone to NOT skip this step if you want really amazing brownies!
The general process consists of:
- Grind the herb!
- Drying and decarbing the herb
- Infusing and heating the oil
- Strain it!
- Making the Brownies
What you'll need:
- Measuring cup
- Double boiler pot, or cooking pot*
- Cookie sheet/Baking sheet
- Cheesecloth or metal mesh coffee filter for straining
- Cooking oil**
- Oven bag - found at grocery store near ziplock bags, etc. - they are plastic bags you can put in the oven...
- Brownie mix that uses vegetable oil (Duncan Hines, Ghirardelli, etc.)
- Candy thermometer***
- Tin foil
- 1/2 cup of finely ground shake/sugar leaf trim. Once ground up, my 1/2 cup weighed about 1/2 ounce. Bud can be used, but you probably won't need as much. This is a really great way to utilize trim leaves, for those that grow their own... The 1/2 cup, 1/2 ounce quantity works well for me, but everyone has different tolerance. Don't skimp though, they're not as fun when too weak.
* Double boiler is a pot that nestles into another pot, the lower holds water and the top part is heated indirectly with the water buffer between them. This will keep you from burning/vaporizing the cannabis prematurely. If you use a regular cooking pot, be very mindful of the temperature. Think Medium low, to medium at most...
** Canola oil works fine. I use a combination of oils, to give more ways for the cannabis to infuse itself into the oil. I learned this trick from a very experienced cannabis baker. For example, I just made a batch that had a little canola oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and almond oil mixed together.
*** Candy thermometer isn't necessary, but it helps ensure you are keeping the temperature at a good level. Be careful to keep the oil below simmering so you don't prematurely vaporize the THC/CBD.
"Decarbing" and making the oil:
Grind the Herb!
Make sure your herb is ground up into a fine material - the finer the better. I use sugar-leaf "shake" as my primary cooking herb. I grind it up in a cup with a small handheld blender, but an herb grinder would work (a little slower, but it works). Advanced Tip: Want really, really amazing brownies? I use trim leaf from several different strains, all mixed and ground together. The brownies I just made had Magic Bud, Lucy, Chocolope, Lavender, Skywalker, Blueberry, and Big Bang trim all infused into the oil. WOW, is all I can say about this batch.
Dry and Decarb it:
Place finely ground material inside an oven bag. This oven bag with your finely ground shake/bud will be placed on a cookie sheet (or similar baking sheet) to be placed in the oven. Spread the shake/bud evenly inside the bag (but on the cookie sheet) so it's a thin even layer. Fold the open end of the oven bag under at the edge a couple of times so that you are essentially sealing the end of the bag. If possible, leave some air inside the bag when you fold the edge under.
I forgot to take a picture of this when I did this last batch, but here's what it looks like without the herb in it (picture a thin layer of herb in the bag):
Place the cooking sheet with the bag of ground material inside the oven, and turn the heat to 210f (don't pre-heat, just put it in and turn oven to 210f).
After 20 minutes, turn off the oven, but leave the herb in the oven for another 10minutes.
Next, remove it from the oven and let it cool (inside the unopened bag) fully. It's important to not open the bag while the herb is still warm/hot so that you don't lose anything potency-wise, you want to keep the vapors in the bag. This process actually makes more of the good stuff available in your brownies through a process called decarboxylation, or "decarb'ing". Decarbing helps activate the THC and CBD. Side note, if you just "ate" the ground up material after this step, you'd get high!
Infuse and heating the oil:
The brownie recipe I'm using calls for 2/3 cup of oil, so I work with slightly more than that, as a small amount will be lost in the straining process.
At this point add the dried, ground up, decarb'ed material to the oil you're using to cook with. Sometimes I use canola vegetable oil on it's own, sometimes I combine a couple of different oils (to provide more ways for cannabinoids to attach themselves to the oil). I now keep about 4 different oils on hand just for these baking adventures (Coconut oil, Peanut oil, Canola oil, and Almond oil)
Next, add (1) tablespoon of Soy Lecithin powder to the oil/herb mixture. I've found this about doubles the potency in the batches I've made. Soy Lecithin helps increase "bioavailability" through emulsification, and is used in many foods you buy at the store. Essentially having it in there helps our body absorb the THC/cannabinoids better. This step can make a huge difference in potency of your brownies. You can buy Soy Lecithin at health food stores, or online, and it's well worth it. **You can make brownies without this step, just be aware that they will not be as strong/potent.**
Use a double-boiler to heat up the oil just under the point of simmering. Think medium to low/medium heat. ***I strongly advise the double boiler as it will keep you from overheating/burning the oil - which could make it less effective*** I cover the oil part of the double boiler with tinfoil, and poke a candy thermometer through the foil to measure the oil temperature. I try to keep the oil between 180-200f during this phase, which for me is typically one tick below "medium" on my stove top. If you don't have a candy thermometer just try to keep it in the "medium/low" range and keep an eye on it so it doesn't simmer/burn. Stir it up periodically while heating.
Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. I do this for about 1-2 hours, but it probably doesn't need to be that long (15-20 minutes is probably fine). The longer you do it, the greater chance the oil becomes fully infused with cannabis. 1-2 hours works good for me.
Once I've heated for an hour or two I strain it through a straining cloth, or a "metal/gold" coffee filter. You just want the strained oil, not the gritty plant material. It should be a nice brownish/greenish color. You'll find that some of the oil is kinda absorbed into the shake, hence starting with a little more oil than necessary. I do try to squeeze out as much oil as I can. I'm stingy so I usually save leftover oil for future projects, etc.
Squeeeeeze it all out!
**The above part can be used to make canna-oil for ANY cooking project that requires cooking oil.**
Making the Brownies:
After preparing the oil, it's as simple as adding it to the brownie recipe as called for (here's from the box I just made)
Note: I try to never let the temp get higher than 325f, and I'd look for a brownie mix that has a 325f option. I'm using the 8x8 pan, so they suggest 325f in mine:
Right before I threw it in the oven:
If you've never had edibles: It's a total creeper high that lasts for hours once it hits. Don't over-do the brownies though, my recipe has been refined a few times, and I'm here to tell you it's very effective. My suggestion is to start with one square/piece and give it an hour or two before eating more. DO NOT be impatient, as these can make you uncomfortably high if you over-do it, and unlike when it's smoked, the high can last for hours.
Some people put the ground up shake right into the recipe with the oil. I'm sure it works - but don't do that unless you want really bad tasting brownies. The method I use here works great and tastes great too, and you don't have gritty weed to chew on...
Finally, finding the right quantity of bud to use is dependant on many factors such as ones tolerance and the potency of the material used. Experiment to find the right amount for you. I've used twice as much for example, but for me anyway, it was a bit stronger than I liked (ask me about NOT seeing the movie "Hangover 2" sometime...)