Evil WeekEvil WeekWelcome to Evil Week, our annual dive into all the slightly sketchy hacks we’d usually refrain from recommending. Want to weasel your way into free drinks, play elaborate mind games, or, er, launder some money? We’ve got all the info you need to be successfully unsavory.
You may be of the school of stoners that likes an edible treat now and again, or you may be a medical user in search of the tastiest options. You may also be a host or party-goer who wants people to fully enjoy themselves with various intoxicating offerings, and wishes to make a potent potluck dish that doesn’t taste like mulch.
It’s Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we’re looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting shit done. We like to think we’re shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That’s up to you.
You should never give people any sort of illicit substance without their knowledge or consent, but you should make your well-labeled foods taste as good as—or better than—food that doesn’t get you high. (Failure to warn people of potentially hyperdimensional space capacity in your food can result in their going plaid, or you know, losing their job or making an unexpected hospital visit.)
Aside from the potential for getting way, way, way too high from ingesting too much THC, the taste of cooked weed itself is not so appetizing. Depending on the strain, there are potent, oily resins that can make things taste like you’re chewing on a fat branch. I find West Coast edibles to also be too-potent-tasting about 80% of the time, and it’s because deep, earthy, pine-y hemp is a tricky flavor to work with and, being that many use it as medicine, taste is often an afterthought to strength.
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But if your aim is to make tasty treats that go down just a little too easily, here are some things you can do to minimize the taste of actual cannabis in homemade edibles:
Cut the fat
If you want the ability to make edibles on a whim, make your butter or oil extra strong, in advance, and freeze it for future projects. A double or triple dose of THC in the same amount of fat will take up less space in the freezer and also require less up-front oil. This concentrated extraction will not taste that good used in large quantities, but when mixed with fresh, uninfused oil, it’s much less brutal. Fats lose a lot of their unique tasting notes when infused with heat and herb and, adding in virgin stuff right before cooking nails those unique flavors that complete a recipe, like flowery butter, nutty sesame, or peppery olive oil.
A good example would be chocolate chip cookies. If you can’t taste creamy, warm, sweet butter, they lose some of that magic. Using a ratio of ⅔ fresh butter to ⅓ infused butter in any baked application is a great way to make sure that your cookies don’t taste like Willie Nelson’s bong water. This works for coconut oil too, which makes wonderful baked goods and goes well with the aroma of cannabis.
Concentrates are a virtually foolproof method for adding THC to food if you are judicious with the potency. Different types of concentrates provide varying strengths and effects, and a much less dramatic scent when compared to raw cannabis. Though all concentrates can still potently flavor a dish due to the high terpene content, the most foolproof way to limit their taste is to limit how much you use. One gram of concentrate can clock in at 750 milligrams of pure THC, so for a tray of brownies, use no more than one third, and you shouldn’t taste much.
Oil and fat-loaded savories like aioli, cheesy dips, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese are all places where the slight flavor of cannabis is actually delicious, not disturbing. Experiment with sugarless things that pair well with other herbs like rosemary and thyme and you will soon see weed’s earthy flavor in a new light. Buttery things like pie crust and hollandaise sauce also make really luxe cannabis food, and they don’t change the original recipe much or at all.
Caramel Is Your Friend
Even the weed Kool Aid Man couldn’t bust through the Maillard-driven flavors of caramel candy. Hard and soft caramels with decarboxylated concentrate stirred in are pretty common ways to get your dose, but if you don’t have candy making skills, caramel sauce made with cannabutter is another excellent route. The creaminess flows around the peppery weed and, if you make rosemary caramels, you can hardly taste cannabis in that flavor pool.
Chocolate is Your Best Friend
Chocolate is the end all be all of weed cover up. You won’t notice much even with super potent treats, and it’s a great option for making either compact and strong bites or a big batch of something more mellow. Chocolate’s bitterness and complexity allows you to surround the less-tasty qualities of cannabis with chocolate totality, even if there’s a bit of plant matter in there.
The best chocolate truffles I’ve ever made are vegan and full of super fine bud particulate, which normally tastes terrible. To roll up these simple treats, warm 1 cup of coconut milk with some cracked cardamom, and stir that into 1 pound of finely chopped dark chocolate until melted. Fold in some extra finely ground, once-pressed herb you’ve used to make other infusions. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, then form into a ball shape, toss in some cocoa powder, and wrap with wax paper.
Deploy any of these techniques or ingredients for a bit more of a gourmet experience and less of a hold-your-nose-and-wolf-it-down-scene. Once you learn what you personally like and don’t like about the taste of cannabis, you can begin to insert it into dishes that you actually enjoy, instead of knocking back treats like shots of crappy whiskey.