Going gourmet with your ganja? Gotta get seasonal with your edibles production.
This time of year, that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Which opens up plenty of opportunities to enchant your cannabis consumers with various plays on traditional holiday treats.
Whether you’re a cannabis edibles company putting together a holiday product special to attract new customers at the busiest time of year—or just someone hoping to add a little extra “magic” to your holiday treats—the possibilities are scientifically endless for getting cannabis into high-quality food.
We’ll prove it at the end of this article.
But first, here’s an ideastorm to spark some inspiration in your cannabis edibles formulation:
1. Classic holiday cookie edibles
Pick your favorite holiday baked-good recipe and substitute the fat content (e.g. butter, shortening, oil, etc) with an equal amount of a cannabis-infused cooking blend (see below for how-to).
Convert everything to grams (including your dough portions) to make dosing simple—using a 10:1 ratio of butter to cannabis flower for easy math.
For example: Let’s say you use just under 1 cup (~200 g) of cannabis butter (meaning 20 grams of cannabis flower) for a recipe, and you want each cookie to contain the equivalent THC of 0.5 gram of cannabis flower. Simply weigh the finished dough and divide it into 40 cookies to estimate your dose.
2. Cannabis fudge or truffles
Start with a tried-and-true butter ganache recipe like this one and substitute cannabutter for the standard butter.
Scoop the ganache into balls dosed by weight, and roll them in plenty of good quality cocoa powder (like Guittard’s Cocoa Rouge or Valrhona Dutched Cocoa).
3. Gingerbread chocolates
Use the same ganache recipe as above, but use a good-quality milk chocolate (instead of dark) and add a pinch of gingerbread spice and sea salt to taste.
4. Cannabis spiced tea or hot chocolate
Add your simple DIY cannabis tincture (see below) and a little honey or sweetener to balance any bitterness the cannabinoids might add, and ride the fragrant steam to new heights.
For best results, choose a strain of cannabis described as “citrusy” or “floral” or whatever matches your chosen beverage.
Same goes for hot chocolate, but the inherent stronger, sweeter flavor makes it a little more forgiving. Want to mask the tincture even more? Add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and even some black or red pepper for heat.
5. Magic caramel corn
Follow any basic caramel corn recipe, but use your cannabis butter blend (below). The sweetness and slight Maillard bitterness of the caramel will balance, blend with, and mask the bitter herbal notes of the cannabis.
Dosing won’t be easy—but you can always split the final batch by weight into separate containers so you don’t accidentally overdo it.
And by the way, we don’t recommend just tossing regular popcorn with cannabis butter—which could render it bitter, grassy, and not very delicious on its own. Balancing with sweet and salt is key.
6. Christmas tree cannabis gummies
Pour your gummy mixture into any festive mold, and you can repackage it as a limited-edition holiday special. Every big candy company does this—no reason why you can’t too.
More importantly, you’ll provide a unique new experience for your consumers, and a chance for them to show off their chic and modern savvy when it comes to Cannachristmas and Highnukkah.
And guess who they’ll think about when the next holiday comes around…
7. Holiday-flavored gummy edibles
Go wild with this one. Flavor and scent are closely tied to memory, tradition, and emotion, so there’s a lot to play with here.
Try these cannabis gummy flavors:
- Pumpkin spice (use real pumpkin puree!)
- Caramel apple
- Chocolate peppermint
- Redhot cinnamon
- Orange clove
8. Cannabis peppermint patties
Peppermint is a classic way to mask the bitterness of cannabis extracts. Peppermint patties are mostly butter and sugar, so just substitute infused butter in your favorite recipe, or add some tincture. As always, dose your edibles by weight.
9. Mulled wine, spiked cider, eggnog, etc
You can magic up any strong beverage with a few drops of edible tincture. Depending on its flavor and aroma profile, your extract can either enhance or clash with any number of spirits. So play around before you start serving…
Just remember that THC is metabolized more slowly than alcohol, and the delayed effects of consuming too much, too fast, can roll you like a rogue wave—which may make the holiday more memorable in a way you don’t prefer…
10. Magic fruitcake
How do you get people to actually eat a holiday fruitcake? Spike it with THC so they can’t resist. (Just make sure to label the special addition—or Aunt Lulu could end up loopier than a holiday weed wreath.)
By the way, the trick to making a good fruitcake is using great rum—and lots of it. Plus adding a touch more cannabis cooking fat than the recipe calls for.
11. Hanukkah latkes
Make your usual recipe but griddle the patties over a dollop of your cannabis cooking blend. The dosage will be imprecise—but the menorah sure will sparkle.
Another option is to add some tincture to your sour cream or applesauce or whatever you top your latkes with.
12. Savory cannabis gravy
Simmer your drippings with enough ground cannabis flower so it’s all submerged.
Stir occasionally for an hour.
Strain through cheesecloth and return to the saucepan over medium heat, adding your broth, thickener, and non-psychoactive herbs & spices to taste.
How to add cannabis to anything edible
Many edibles manufacturers use high-quality extracts for their edibles. Truly gourmet cannabis edibles makers consider their extracts as a starting point for the overall flavor profile.
But you can also DIY your own cannabis infusions. Here are two easy ways to introduce cannabis into food:
Cannabis cooking oil blend (general purpose)
Depending on what you’re using it for, you may want a different flavor blend of cooking fats. For general purpose cannabis cooking, we prefer a 2:3:3 mix of olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee. Experiment with what works best for you.
- Enhances (and blends with) the grassy bitterness
- Adds moisture to baked goods
- Liquid at room temp
- Adds flavor and sweetness
- Enhances some baked goods
- Solid at room temp
Clarified butter (ghee)
- Adds richness
- Somewhat neutral flavor
- Solid at room temp
For easier dosing, stick with a ratio of 10 grams of fat to 1 gram of cannabis flower. Measuring by mass is much more consistent than by volume.
With a 10:1 ratio, a small-to-average cookie or brownie containing 5 grams (or 1 tsp) of butter, would deliver the THC dosage from 0.5 g of cannabis flower.
So let’s say your bud contains 20% THC (0.5 g x 0.20); then each cookie would dose at 100 mg THC. Too strong? Here’s how to scale back your potency. Just make sure to keep the math straight.
Fat to flower ratios (by mass) for THC dosage
Per 5 g (1 tsp) cooking oil:
- 10:1 = 100 mg THC
- 20:1 = 50 mg THC
- 50:1 = 20 mg THC
- 100: 1 = 10 mg THC
How to make cannabutter (process)
- 10x grams fat blend
- 1x grams cannabis flower
- Cookie sheet
- Crockpot, double boiler, or saucepan
- Decarboxylate: Preheat oven to 245°F and bake the cannabis on a cookie sheet for 30-40 mins, turning occasionally. Then break up the dried weed so it’s fine but not dusty (think of the cheesecloth).
- Simmer: In a crockpot or double boiler, cook over low-medium heat (so it moves but never boils) for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. If you must use a saucepan, you can add water to keep the fat from burning. It will separate out when the fat solidifies in the fridge, and you can remove it.
- Strain: Double up your cheesecloth to catch all the tiny bits of plant matter. Don’t wring it out too hard—you’ll wind up with extra chlorophyll and bitterness.
See more details at Leafly.
Easy DIY cannabis tincture
At 90+% concentration, ethanol (drinking alcohol) extracts and activates THC and other cannabinoids from the bud, leaving a potent tincture you can droplet into just about anything.
Bear with us here, for a bit of science-ing:
From a standard dropper, 20 drops = 1 mL of liquid. While 1 mL of water has a mass of 1 gram—1 mL of ethanol is 0.79 grams.
So because your dosage is measured in drops (volume), we have to account for that. Here’s how to dose each drop at 1 mg THC (using bud tested at 20% potency):
- 80 g ethanol = 100 mL = 2000 drops
- 10 g cannabis flower at 20% THC (10 g x 0.20) = 2 g THC = 2000 mg THC
- 2000 g THC per 2000 drops = 1 mg THC per drop
How to extract THC with Everclear
Start with ice-cold Everclear from the freezer. In a jar or other freezer-safe container, mix 8 parts alcohol with 1 part finely ground, decarboxylated cannabis flower (see step 1 in previous section).
Let the mixture rest in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Then strain through cheesecloth into a dropper container.
Start planning your holiday cannabis edibles formulation
Clearly there are infinite directions in which to take your holiday special edibles. So where to begin strategizing for success?
One good bet is to poll your customers about which of their favorite holiday treats they’d like to see as cannabis edibles—you could even set it up as a contest—and then roll out your new product with lots of fanfare.
But that’s a conversation for another time.
Want more product ideas or need help developing your holiday edibles formulation? Reach out—we’re here for you.