Laurie Wolf keeps busy — you don’t get The New Yorker to call you “the Martha Stewart of marijuana edibles” by diddling around on Reddit forums. In addition to running Laurie + MaryJane — a family-owned edibles business operating out of Wolf’s Portland homebase — Wolf also has professional chef training, edits food writing, hosts mouth-watering weed dinners, and is a published cookbook author. And among those cookbooks, Wolf co-authored Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis (with fellow chef Melissa Parks). Like we said, the woman keeps busy. And, in case you were wondering, the book does have a recipe for her iconic Triple Bomb Brownies — the treat that led to Wolf taking home the trophy for Best Sweet Edible (Recreational) at the Dope Cup this past year.
MERRY JANE caught up with Wolf about the varying legality of cannabis, its healing powers, finding your comfortable high level, and her rolling the dice and going into business with her daughter-in-law. She also shares her carrot cake recipe, which, can you honestly think of a better Mother’s Day dish? Because we sure can’t.
World’s Best Canna-Carrot Cake
Oil for the pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1/4 cup canna-canola oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, very lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups pureed carrots, about 6-7
15 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2-8 oz. packages regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Heat oven to 340. Oil two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the oils and eggs and beat well.
Stir the walnuts, coconut, carrots, and pineapple into the mixture until just combined.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake in the center of the oven till a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for at least an hour. Remove the cakes from the pans. Cool for an additional hour.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat till smooth with no lumps remaining.
Place one cake on a serving platter. Spread with half the frosting. Place the second cake on top of the frosting. Spread the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts.
If you want to make this cake super potent — and have no intention of leaving the house — substitute some canna-butter in the cream cheese frosting, and toast the walnuts using canna-butter or oil on the baking sheet. Promise me you won’t go out.
Continue reading for our interview with the next-level canna-cook...
Photo by Bruce Wolf, courtesy of Laurie + MaryJane
MERRY JANE: You started experimenting with marijuana-infused food to help your dad as well as manage your own problems with seizures. Tell me a little about the early stages of getting involved with edibles. What were some early lessons you learned?
Laurie Wolf: One of the lessons I learned is that if you are careful with your edible intake, you never need to have a bad experience. Too much cannabis is unpleasant, [but] if you start low and go higher, it will be easy for you to find what your comfortable potency level is. If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, all the information about potency will be available.
Everyone has a different tolerance. Start with a low dose and find yours. When making cannabis-infused foods, start with full-flavored ingredients. Some folks like the taste of cannabis in foods, but in my experience most do not. The challenge is knowing when to disguise the taste completely or allow some of the taste to get through. When you feel like the cannabis taste will be an interesting or positive addition, go with it. At Laurie + MaryJane, we have made white chocolate granola bites and honestly the taste of cannabis is a delightful addition.
You live in Oregon, a state going on its third or so year with marijuana legalized. How do you think creating edibles in that environment is different than, say, a state like Georgia? How does the legal aspect impact the edibles community (both those who make as well as those who just imbibe)?
It's wonderful to be able to enjoy cannabis in all forms without the worry of arrest. Although there is a bit more uncertainty with the current, horrible administration, working in the cannabis industry in Oregon feels great. I love being able to share this fantastic herb openly with folks who are enjoying it both recreationally and more importantly medically. The fact that cannabis is equated with drugs like Vicodin is a disgrace. We have worked with many patients managing serious health issues with cannabis. Now that cannabis is legal [in some states], we are seeing a new demographic entering the cannabis market. Being open to treating health issues with a plant is wonderful to see. How can that be bad?
Tell me about how you decided to going into business as Laurie + MaryJane with your daughter in law.
Sounds dangerous, right? My son, Nick, and daughter-in-law, Mary, moved to Oregon about a year into my business. Mary, after looking at what I had done with packaging, saw that I needed help. She changed the business radically with her fantastic branding, marketing, and amazing work ethic. We have a blast.
You infuse a lot of different kinds of oils with herb. Could you explain a little about how you decide which kind of oil will work best for different dishes or flavor profiles?
When we bake we use canna-butter or infused oil, either canola or coconut. The beauty of coconut oil is that it is vegan and can be used inside and out. A few weeks ago I twisted my wrist. Very painful. I started applying canna-coconut oil and got speedy relief.
I like to have several infused options at home, enabling me to cook what I like with the infusion of my choice. I think the food we are going to infuse will dictate the oil/butter that we use. For Laurie + MaryJane products available currently, we are using infused unsalted butter.
Tell me a little about the dish you're sharing with us today. Do you have any pairing recommendations? Any origin stories you'd like to share?
This carrot cake is extraordinary. Years ago I baked for a tea shop in Brattleboro, Vermont. This cake was the most popular dessert by far. It is full of flavor, has a terrific texture, and is not too heavy — so you can eat a nice big piece! But not too much ... you want to be high and happy. Back in the Vermont days, there was usually no cannabis in the cake. One of the things I love about this cake in the world of cannabis is that you can infuse both the cake and the frosting. You could even toast the almonds in the oven in canna-oil. Extreme caution required.
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