Whether you live in a state privileged with recreational weed, or are anxiously awaiting the day your state government get's the fuck over itself so that walking into a dispensary (or bodega, fingers crossed) and buying an eighth of weed is as easy as getting food to-go, cannabis is here to stay. Because, honestly, it’s an undeniable fact that federal legalization is inevitable at this point. Proper access to quality, tested products is the next frontier in the seed-to-smoke revolution, which means that edibles worthy of discerning farm-to-table foodies are about to pop off in the cannasseur market. After all, who needs a shitty box brownie when you could make matcha cocoa buttercups instead?
In fact, that’s the recipe for this week’s Baked to Perfection: because there’s no better time than the present to flex those baking skills for your weed-lovin’ crew. A little nice; a little naughty, these I-can’t-believe-it’s-mostly-healthy sweet treats from Olivia Harris, LEVO’s Head of Brand, are guaranteed to impress everyone.
In case you missed the debut of their LEVO II last year, this is essentially the creme de la creme of infusion/decarboxylator devices. Or, as I like to call it: “The Kitchenaid of the Cannabis World." Consider it the seasonal gifting essential for the folks who worship Ina Garten and Martha Stewart (like me!).
Flex at your next holiday party by stealing Harris’s recipe below, and read on for a glimpse at what’s going on with pre-legalization cannabis culture in New York, why LEVO is changing the edibles game, and an anecdote about the time she accidentally got her dad high as hell.
1 cup organic cocoa butter
4 tablespoons LEVO flower-infused coconut oil
⅓ cup maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
1 cup organic cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup coconut butter (or substitute with cashew, almond, or peanut butter and skip the matcha)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 tablespoon LEVO flower-infused coconut oil
1. Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or makeshift double boiler (glass or metal bowl on top of a small pot filled ¼ full with water) over medium heat.
2. Once cocoa butter is melted add your LEVO-Infused coconut oil and whisk to combine.
4. Once the cocoa butter mixture is melted and thoroughly mixed, remove from heat and add maple syrup. Whisk well.
5. Add cacao powder and vanilla extract.
6. Pour chocolate molds halfway filled and place in the fridge or freezer to set.
To make the filling:
1. Add all ingredients (coconut butter, matcha, maple syrup and LEVO-Infused coconut oil) to the food processor and pulse to combine thoroughly.
2. Once the chocolates have hardened sufficiently, remove them from the fridge and add a teaspoon of matcha filling to each. Pour to cover with remaining chocolate and replace in the fridge to set.
3. When ready, pop out and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. And don’t forget to share with friends.
MERRY JANE: First of all, need to gush a little on the LEVO II because it's one of the most beautiful kitchen appliances I've seen besides my Kitchenaid standing mixer. So, how did the product come about and why did you specifically enter the edibles game?
Olivia Harris, Head of Brand at LEVO: Thank you! So honored to hear that. We designed LEVO to be able to sit on your kitchen counter with other appliances seamlessly and not have to be hidden when guests come over. Plus, we released the LEVO II in colors that match Kitchenaid Mixers so you can really curate your kitchen!
The lightbulb moment for LEVO was in 2011, a few years before I met our CEO Chrissy Bellman. She struggled with migraines and nerve damage from a prior arm surgery, and was looking for natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. This lead her down the path of herbal medicine, and she quickly realized that making these products (from skincare to foods) at home took all day, stunk up your kitchen, and was overall a complete disaster. She knew there had to be a better way. I came on board after several years of prototyping, and launched a pre-order campaign for LEVO in 2016. We knew the time was right, as the cannabis industry was just beginning to evolve to serve the needs of a much broader audience. Today, we have over 30,000 happy infusers and counting!
What was your relationship with weed before becoming an edibles entrepreneur? What has changed since going pro?
I had always enjoyed consuming recreationally in high school, college, and beyond. I much prefer it to drinking (which I never had much tolerance for), but didn't experiment as much with edibles since I was limited by my diet. It was only until I was able to easily make my own with LEVO that I could customize gluten-free, dairy-free (and often sugar-free) creations to enjoy, and also begin experimenting with body and skincare. Our chapstick recipe is one of my all-time faves!
Nowadays, I think the ways people are consuming have broadened so much. You can get high, sure, but you can also focus in on anxiety, pain, sleep and so many other issues with laser focus. That's what’s really interesting to me and has changed a lot regarding how I approach my own use.
Like moi, you're also based between NYC and Hudson Valley, so wondering if you can shed some light on what the current climate is like for local cannabis culture?
In NYC, it's kind of a joke that it's not legal yet. It seems like everyone acts like it is, and is pretty laissez faire about it. We're all expecting it will eventually be legal, and it's only a matter of time. That said, NYC is a total bubble, and outside the bubble in Hudson Valley, it seems pretty different. I went to a listening session for the Department of Health in Newburgh, NY and was shocked to hear how many were opposed to legalization. Some of the most adamant were well-spoken doctors and nurses! My jaw dropped. It reminded me that the industry is existing in very separate worlds still, and we have to continue pushing the conversation forward and not get complacent.
Tell us about the recipe, which is basically an incredibly dope healthy-fancy Reese's with coconut butter and matcha. How did you develop the recipe and why does it work?
I have a crazy sweet tooth, but also try to limit sugar in my diet, which leads to some very creative ideas, like this one. I love matcha everything, and saw that CAP Beauty had a matcha coconut-butter, which inspired me to try this. I bought some silicone candy molds which make it super easy! You can dose these lightly so you can have a couple at a time, and they last forever in the fridge. A great little after dinner sweet treat!
We live in a wonderful time where more information is now available about our products and dosing, but everyone has had at least one edibles mishap they'll never forget. What's your most memorable story?
This technically isn't my story, but it's still hilarious. I had recently been gifted a beautiful infused chocolate bar from California, which I'd hastily left on the counter while running out. My father (whose sweet tooth rivals mine) arrived from a bike ride at our house, ravenous. I realized when I walked in that I should have texted him to not eat the infused chocolate, since I was sure he wouldn't read the label or notice the special packaging.
By the time I arrived, he was halfway through the bar, munching loudly. "Dad!! That chocolate has weed in it!" "Oh shit," he said. Thankfully, my dad is a pretty seasoned pro, and took it in stride. When we dropped him off to go back to NYC on the train, he regretted not bringing snacks for the ride. I texted him the next morning and he responded with just, "Still high." I'm pretty sure he was baked for several days...
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