Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

How To Make Awesome Pot Brownies

Suddenly pot edibles are everywhere these days. You can even take a class on how to make them! Yet the basic truth remains: Most pot brownies suck. No, you don’t really eat pot brownies for the chocolaty goodness—I get it. But if you’re going to spend that kind of cash on ingredients, shouldn’t the end result at least taste good? To fix this, I called up Jerome Chang, the former pastry sous-chef at Le Cirque and the mastermind behind DessertTruck Works, a New York City food truck that was so popular it became its own restaurant.

Chang was sympathetic to my concern: “I’m not a pothead, but I’ve had a couple, and I was disappointed. I guess… It takes some work. I think most of the people making them are male. They don’t have a lot of cooking skills. That’s my theory, anyway.” (Translation: The reason pot brownies suck is because they’re made by stoners.) So I asked Chang to make what he would consider the best batch of pot brownies ever, no-holds-barred.

He didn’t pull any punches. The recipe, below, is what you’d always wished pot brownies were even when you didn’t realize you were wishing it: decadent, overstuffed, rich, and kind of a mess. Chang says his mission was simple: to make brownies that are every bit as good as the high they give you. “It’s almost like a cross between high-quality fudge and a brownie—not too cakey, dense. And the saltiness of the pretzels and their crunch help. They elevate it without being pretentious.” Because the last thing you want to be when you’re making pot brownies is pretentious.

To achieve the desired result, Chang recommends using the highest-quality chocolate you can find in your mass-market grocery, such as Guittard or Scharffen Berger. “If I’m at home or away from my kitchen, those are the ones I’ll pick up.” The optional add-ons, butterscotch chips and mini-marshmallows, are good if you like things extra-sweet.

Other than that, making these isn’t so different from following any brownie recipe. Except, of course, for the pot butter. That’s the tricky part. There are a lot of different ways to infuse butter with marijuana, but Chang says that the best way is to use a double boiler with water in it, which doesn’t take too long and avoids burning. (For even cooking, it helps if the pot and the bowl are roughly the same diameter.)

As for dosage, Chang says his max is two brownies. “I’m a bit sensitive to all manner of drugs. Some guys felt a little something. But I was like, whatever, it’s enough for me.” If you’re at all like him, you might want to go light on the green stuff. Then you can enjoy them all over again when you’re stoned.

Jerome Chang's Pot Brownies

Yield: 1/2 sheet pan, about 20 three-by-two-inch squares

Pot butter (recipe follows)
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp water (just shy of 1/4 cup)
1 lb 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or baking chunks (Guittard, Scharffen Berger, or better)
6 large eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (1 package)
2 1/2 ounces pretzels
1 pre-made graham-cracker pie crust
1 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
4 cups mini-marshmallows (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a half sheet pan with parchment
paper, set aside.

Melt the pot butter along with the 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler.
Whisk together until smooth and uniform.

Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl. Beat together with an electric beater until thick.

Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mix. Beat together until uniform.

Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the brownie batter onto the half sheet pan with parchment paper. Gently press the pretzels into the top of the batter. Then crumble up the graham-cracker pie crust and press the chunks into the brownie batter.

Place in the oven and bake for a total of 30 minutes, turning halfway through. If not using marshmallows or butterscotch chips, skip to the last step.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the marshmallows and butterscotch chips onto the brownie. Put it back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. Once cool, wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. Enjoy the next day!

Pot Butter

1/2 ounce marijuana
1 lb unsalted butter

Over a double boiler, melt the butter. Once melted, add the marijuana and let it infuse into the butter. Stir regularly, about every 5 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the butter off the heat, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Use right away in the brownie recipe or store in the fridge.

Paul Schrodt works at and sometimes writes about drugs.

43 Comments / Post A Comment

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

How much of the butter are you supposed to use? My friend wants to know.

HiredGoons (#603)

If you have to ask, you'll never know.

wallsdonotfall (#6,378)

All of it! This will make a quadruple batch of brownies, looks like. But you can freeze them. Just make sure you have enough baking pans before you sample the ingredients.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@wallsdonotfall: Now that I've read the recipe a second time, that makes sense. It just seemed like a lot at first.

synchronia (#3,755)

@Kevin Knox: Yeah, I generally try not to think about how much butter goes into brownies.

roboloki (#1,724)

tomorrow: how to roll a fucking joint

awlsome (#706)


riotnrrd (#840)

A good friend of mine told me that the following steps are VITAL for making tasty pot edibles:

* Take your pot and grind it up very finely, for example in a coffee grinder. (Make sure to clean the grinder out with a damp paper towel afterward, or you'll get a surprise the next morning)
* Put the ground up pot into a coffee filter and pour about four cups of hot water through it. You are effectively making bong-water tea. Conical filters work best, but a basket filter in an automatic drop machine also works.
* Throw that nasty bong water shit away
* Use the cleaned pot as in the recipe above.

This reduces the odor from cooking, as well as the gross taste that pot butter sometimes has. It also removes any (water-soluble) pesticides or crap that might exist on your pot.

littlemaker (#10,408)

Coffee grinders are the perfect method to add the most surface area to your greenery, though the warm water i disagree with. this is actually counter productive as warm water will wash away the trichomes on the surface of of the pot which is the most pure form of thc available. one of the most rudimentary forms of hashish is made by collecting these trichomes using a screen, silk or otherwise, then gently heating and compressing this 'kif' into a solid form. if your pot butter tastes bad youre either cooking it at too high a temperature or youre using gross pot. if done correctly it should smell and taste like the best thing in the world. if the smell is an issue either to you or the people you live with just cover the pot and keep the temp low.

happy cooking

KarenUhOh (#19)

If you all ever need a recipe for potburgers, call me. I can't promise you they'll taste real good, but I can state with reasonable certainty you will fall off a roof.

djfreshie (#875)

Also, if you ever want to just whip up something fast and edible without using such a large amount, just add a reasonable (a pinner's worth, give or take) to the melted butter you're about to make an omelet in. Serious. It acts as a decent spice as well – oreganoesque. A FRIEND TOLD ME

eastcoasthrumph (#10,356)

The last time I ate pot baked-goods I thought everyone on the M104 bus was going to rape me. I raced home to my bedroom, locked the door and listened to a crowd of people try to break down my bedroom window so they could quarter me and fondle my entrails. I think I'll pass on these, admittedly awesome looking, brownies.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

So, uh…if I don't like pot, can I still make the brownies without the greenery? Or will the removal of the pot ruin the whole recipe?

BadUncle (#153)

This is the most important article the Awl has ever published. Now, can you tackle the critical issue of making mushrooms less vomitous, and, dare I suggest it, even delicious?

roboloki (#1,724)

jelly biscuit!
*disclaimer* will not help with vomitousness

metoometoo (#230)

I have an extremely sensitive stomach, and making mushroom tea with lots of honey works for me.

In college a "friend" used to chop up her dose of mushrooms, mix it with salsa, and consume with Tostitos.

portmanteautally (#1,015)

1) Procure Fritos Scoops
2) Fill Scoop with shrooms
3) Eat and repeat

I always had a terrible time gagging them down until hipped to this method.

Luckier (#857)

A friend of mine in college would make mushroom honey. Pack a glass jar full of mushrooms, fill with a bear's worth of honey and put the closed jar in the fridge until the whole thing turns electric blue. Put honey in tea or on peanut butter toast. Not too much. A friend told me that.

BadUncle (#153)

All these friends are so helpful. For my friend.

cookadoo (#40,447)

@BadUncle I found that putting the mushrooms in potato salad really hides the taste. First time I tried mushrooms I did this and then road a bunch of roller coasters at Cedar Point. No vomit…and I'm a light weight!

janeminty (#9,376)

These are my favorite special butter "vehicles."

laurel (#4,035)

Having a PChef do this up was a very good idea.

s. (#775)

Putting baking powder in brownies is wrong.

Clare (#516)

Do you think you could use the pot butter in blondies? Specifically, this recipe, which is divine.

A friend wants to know.

metoometoo (#230)

You can use pot butter in literally anything that requires butter.

wallsdonotfall (#6,378)

"No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin except for the THC I knew to be there."

Zulkey (#9,606)

I have questions on behalf of a friend who does not have access to a computer:

a.) Doe sit matter what kind/grade of weed is used or does it not matter?


b.) How much does the butter/brownie-making process make your kitchen stink?

melis (#1,854)

Kind of a lot, unfortunately. Your roommates will definitely notice and at best, get annoyed. At worst, they'll want some.

Rod T (#33)

Brownies are for amateurs. Pot cookies are the better. My secret is to sautee the weed with pulverized almonds or pecans. I rarely work with chocolate and prefer to make nut and berry cookies, often with orange or lemon rind. They stay longer than brownies and aren't so heavy.

(Jolie and I could make a video, I'm guessing.)

Tulletilsynet (#333)

I am so sad for you. You don't have a friend.

McEllen (#10,374)

A friend told me that cannabutter makes great rice krispie treats.

SeanP (#4,058)

From the article: "It’s almost like a cross between high-quality fudge and a brownie—not too cakey, dense."

I like them cakey. Also:

"Chang recommends using the highest-quality chocolate you can find in your mass-market grocery, such as Guittard or Scharffen Berger"

Dude, wow. Your mass-market grocery stores are way, way more upscale than, um, my friend's. Will Toll House morsels work?

I mean, is Sharffen Berger a real kind of chocolate?! It sounds like a fake fancy chocolate from an episode of The Simpsons.

snarkoleptic (#10,383)

the best butter recipe I've found used shake (leaf, trim, and popcorn etc…) rather than real bud, no use wasting decent weed to cook with. In a big pot boil 1 ounce of shake for every pound of butter with enough water to cover it all for 2-4 hours, adding water as necessary to avoid the liquid boiling dry. Strain the contents through cheese cloth or a fine grained strainer to remove the leaves, stems et al. Pour the entire mixture into containers that will fit into your freezer, freeze for a couple hours and the solution will separate, with the butter solidified on top. Use the butter 1:1 for butter in any recipe and you're golden…

COStella (#10,385)

Y'all have to ask us peeps out in Colorado how it's done. 1/2 oz to a pound of butter? Weak. I use at least 2 oz of shake to 1 pound butter. The last thing I want to do is have to consume over 500+ calories of something to relieve my pain. Cheeba Chews are the best thing we got going out here for small and powerful. I've also found in my baking that extra sugar is key.
Red Card holder in Colorado/caregiver/grower/mom/baker

littlemaker (#10,408)

I agree with everything that OP said, but I find that the real issue with most pot brownies (or any pot food for that matter) is that people are too impatient when making the pot butter (or whatever type of fat you decide to use). this should be a long and slow process, and requires a strict upper temperature limit. the desired cannabinoids begin to vaporize between 160 celcius and 200 celcius, and anything above that begins to destroy (denature) the molecules and made your butter less potent. since we know at what temperature we want this reaction to take place, we can choose the best fat for this application. olive oil has a smoke point of 375 farenheit, roughly 191 celcius, so we would be able to get the lower end of the desired cannabinoid spectrum, but the oil will burn and be unable to absorb anything above 191 degrees. butter has an even lower smoke point, which makes it the most finniky of the available fat solvents. canola (rapeseed) oil on the other hand has a very high smoke point, around 464f/240c, which means it can handle most temperature fluctuations without being ruined. if you want to consider other fat-solvent options, just wiki oil smoke points and pick something at or above 210c. now, the actual cooking part, my favorite method is to use a slow cooker on low for at least 12 hours. 2-4 hours should make some decent oil, but the more patient you are and the longer you let it simmer the better it will be. i like to start it up around dinner time and let it run till noon the next day. when you cook pot this long it turns into a large spongy mass that absorbs a lot of oil so it can be really helpful to have a cheesecloth strainer to help expel and filter the pot oil.

Like COStella I prefer a much… stonier (and healthier) ratio of pot to fat, and also like snarkoleptic its better to use shake and trim. save the nuggets for when you need em, its not like youre gonna smoke trim, so you might as well use it for something.

Also remember that when youre making pot brownies, or anything else for that matter, dont bake or cook them over 375-400f, as this too will damage the oil. Take your time and start out small so you know your limits, everyone has different tolerances.

Peace love and good happiness stuff


melis (#1,854)

Yeah, but who has 1-2 ounces of SHAKE on them at any given time? Maybe if you get all your friends together and start a pool…

We're clearly in different weight classes here.

People are using ordinary words in strange ways that I do not understand.

tesspionage (#10,444)

Most LA dispensaries sell shake, usually at around $35/an eighth. Littlemaker's got a point about making the butter — the best success, MY FRIEND TELLS ME, is found when you use a crockpot. Whatever you do, don't follow any recipes that advise using water in addition to butter while you're cooking, unless you want to find Swamp Thing sleeping in a Mason jar in your fridge.

Also, w/r/t the coffee grinder, may I suggest you invest in one not just for pot baking but for joint rolling? And then when you're in dire straits you can excavate the innards of the grinder for enough dust for a small doob. For your sick friend. Not for you. You don't do that kind of thing.

evilinsydme (#14,008)

I just made a batch O brownies tonight and I am more than happy.

1/4 o. of dank stuff in oil 4 25 min
duncan hines fudge brownie mix

I am wrecked and I partake daily by smoking or vaporizing.
(Note: Keep oil just below simmer. You want browned bud not blackened shriveled grains. Remove from heat if necessary to keep oil from overheating.
Peace and hair grease.

So I typed in low temp bake brownies, the recipe's not low temp at all..
From my understanding THC starts to burns off @350. If you hav a digital vaporizer youll now what I mean. Cooking @low temp means cooking at a low enough temp to cook the brownies and save the THC at the same time. I've proven it by making caramel with it, except much harder. Try cooking at 325°f with top covered and cook until middle is done. Cooking at 325 is a safe zone for making Brownies, it reassures not burning your butter off. I don't put all that crap in my brownies, It takes away the taste of the awesome buds. If you find a lower temp recipe let me know, I'm looking for a "noBake" recipe.

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