by Paul Schrodt
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!
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.