When a James Beard Award-winner starts producing edibles, that’s when you know marijuana has completely smoothed and glossed any edge Cheech or George Clinton may have ever lent it. But that’s a good thing, especially when said James Beard Award-winner is pastry chef and cookbook author Mindy Segal, known for her next-level recipe collection Cookie Love.
Segal got with MERRY JANE to talk about the careful science of dosage and how she came to collaborate with one of the largest medical marijuana cultivators in Illinois, on top of sharing a recipe for chocolatey, fudgy goodness with homemade cannabutter.
Total time: 5-6 hours
Serves 24 large brownies
Cannabis (adjust the amount of flower until your desired potency per serving appears in the green box, via a calculator)
1 stick unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Grind the cannabis in a spice grinder until fine. Combine shake and butter over a double boiler. Steep over low heat for at least 4 hours while keeping an eye on the water level. Replenish as needed. Remove from boiler, strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and set aside strained butter to cool.
Preheat oven to 340 F. Prepare a 9”-by-13” baking pan by lining with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Melt cannabutter and bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside, but keep warm. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dark brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, and the chocolate/butter mixture. Mix well so that the butter is fully incorporated.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg until incorporated. Add teaspoons vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and kosher salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until ingredients are well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a thin crust is formed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan then lift and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 pieces.
NOTE: Brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Individual results may vary. May take 1-2 hours to feel effects. Start low and go slow. And continue reading for our interview with Mindy Segal.
MERRY JANE: Tell me a little about how you started incorporating marijuana into your cooking.
Mindy Segal: Well, first of all, I don't incorporate marijuana into my cooking, my edible company does, partly under my direction. We have a team of people that work on this to make sure that we are dosing and using the proper strains for each individual "treat" that I make.
Your Chicago restaurant HotChocolate has been open for over 10 years now — congrats! What has surprised you the most about its growth?
Haha, it's actually been open for 12! The thing that has surprised me the most is that we have been able to evolve continuously throughout the 12 years and have kept our customers interested in coming back. And we succeeded!
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your job?
All of it! It is everything from keeping my staff motivated — excited and challenged — [to] keeping the businesses successful, not letting myself get distracted by outside forces, as well as finding people that actually believe in my core values.
Tell me about how you teamed with Cresco Labs.
When medical marijuana became legal in Illinois, Cresco was one of the companies that approached me to partner with them in an edible company. After an extensive "getting to know you” period, I decided it was the right fit for me.
What do you think people get the most wrong about cooking with cannabis?
Dosage, dosage, dosage! Proper dosing is key to successful cooking and partaking in eating edibles.
How have you seen THC-infused cooking grow over the past decade? How is society changing its views?
I've seen THC-infused cooking grow exponentially in the past couple of years. I feel with people like me joining the industry, the stigma is being lifted and others are realizing the health benefits and medical qualities of THC and are able to enjoy cooking with it.
What can you tell me about the recipe you're sharing with us today? What would you pair with it booze-wise, if anything?
I would pair the brownie with a hoppy stout or imperial stout. The taste of the beer would really bring out the flavor of the terpenes.
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