The History of Cannabis Brownies
Have you ever wondered why cannabis brownies are so popular?
Published on November 13, 2015

After writer Gertrude Stein died in 1946, Random House approached her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas, and asked her to write a book of recipes laced with memories of their life together. In 1954, The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book was published. In it, Toklas included a hashish fudge recipe contributed by her friend, Brion Gysin. She was having difficulty filling pages on her own, and asked her artist friends for assistance. Some wonder if she even read over the recipe before sending it off to her publisher with the rest of her manuscript.

“This is the food of Paradise—of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extension of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected.”

Her American editors at Random House caught the suspicious ingredient and took the recipe out of her book. However, the British editors left it in, and the press went wild. After that, Alice’s name became synonymous with cannabis treats, spurring the 1968 flick I Love You, Alice B. Toklas about a square lawyer who falls in love with a beautiful hippie and joins the counter-culture after eating her “groovy brownies.”

However, the original recipe doesn’t call for chocolate. It’s more of a fruit bar.

“Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of de-stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of cannabis sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.”

Inspired by the delicious history of Alice and the hashish fudge, here’s a decadent cannabis brownie recipe that will leave you lifted. And, if you’re fascinated by the historical piece here, check out Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, a charming film about nostalgia and modernism where the main character mingles with Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Hemingway, The Fitzgerald’s, Cole Porter and many more revered artists from that time period.

Happy Baking!

Ingredients & Accoutrements

  • ¾  cup cannabutter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon of de-stoned dates
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 ½  cups white sugar
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾  cup all-purpose flour
  • ½  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1  teaspoon of peppercorns, freshly ground
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • Whipped cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, moving the rack to just below the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease an 8 inch square pan with butter and flour.
  3. Blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. Combine the flour, cocoa, peppercorns, applesauce, peanut butter, dates and salt until well mixed.
  6. Gradually blend everything into the egg mixture.
  7. Spread the batter into the greased pan.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes
  9. Make sure the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Allow brownies cool.
  11. Cut into squares.
  12. Sprinkle cinnamon and powdered sugar on top of each square.
  13. Put a dollop of whipped cream on your serving.
  14. Enjoy!
Zoe Wilder
Zoe Wilder is a media relations professional and business consultant orbiting cannabis, tech, wellness, music, art, wine and spirits. For 17 years, Zoe has worked with hundreds of clients across a variety of industries to develop and execute inventive promotional content and campaigns that capture the attention of tastemakers and influencers from around the globe.
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