Lately I’ve been dabbling in pot goodies and have gotten advice from the potheads in my life. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last September (in the early and treatable stages), I decided to venture to my local marijuana dispensary. Although I’m not usually a pot smoker, I was open to the idea of eating sweets and baked goods that have medicinal marijuana, to help potentially aid with any sleeplessness, pain and anxiety from cancer.
First, I bought an Auntie Dolores chocolate cookie, and completely forgot to eat a small portion of the cookie in the privacy of my own living room. It’s a cookie—-my natural instinct is to eat the whole thing, which I did. Slowly, because the pot taste seemed to coat my tongue and linger after any swallowing. Within fifteen minutes, I was buzzy and a little dizzy. It was tough to walk to the bathroom without putting my hands on the walls and I was giggle-cringing the whole route. Rather than have the desired mellow and easy night, I tossed and turned with vivid and bizarre dreams. The next day I was still a little dizzy and felt hung over. We almost cancelled whale watching plans but I guzzled water to get the sweet pot taste out of my mouth. It took a few hours out of the morning for me to feel better. I had a similar reaction when I ate only half of a cookie.
I did hear that a natural chef friend of mine, J.C., was making pot cookies so I happily took him up on his offer to sample some. He promised that his line of Baked cookies (get it?)—which come in gourmet flavors like cashew butter cardamom, blackstrap molasses, and lemon Matcha, would offer the mellower marijuana experience I was after. I have cooked and catered with him often enough to know he has a good palate and intuitive sense of how to make things healthy while remaining delicious. J.C., a private chef, is still in the early stages of developing his Baked cookies and was able to share his process of baking with medicinal marijuana. I enjoyed that I was able to eat half a cookie, enjoy a gourmet treat, and not feel drained or hungover. His comments have been edited for clarity and length.
Bay Area Bites: How and why did you start baking pot cookies?
J.C.: It kind of started as a joke. My partner is a card-carrying cannabis client and wanted to do a cooking project with me that incorporated medical marijuana. I’m a natural chef into the therapeutics of food so I started reading and learning about the medicinal properties of cannabis. There can be a fun element to something that may not be so fun—getting positive relief from the symptoms of being sick.
Right now I’m making the cookies for my partner and testing recipes with some card-carrying friends. I want it to be 100% legit. I want to sell to dispensaries, that’s my goal.
Bay Area Bites: Where did you get your recipes?
J.C.: I’ve been making them up. I took a basic concept like a peanut butter cookie and then improvised to make a cashew butter with cardamom recipe. I started with a basic sugar cookie recipe and it evolved into the lemon Matcha cookie. I’m not a baker, and am much more interested in being playful with the flavors. I kind of want to hide the flavor of the marijuana.
Bay Area Bites: Your cookies are mellower than others on the market. That is a good thing but why go more mellow?
J.C.: My whole goal is to give you something you can eat, enjoy the flavor, and benefit from the effects of the medical marijuana. I find that edibles are usually way too strong and twice I’ve had a feeling that was almost “cracked out.” I want people to enjoy their cookie, like a really nice glass of wine.
Bay Area Bites: Tell me about the trial and error process of creating the cookies.
J.C.: The process has been about making the butter with marijuana. Doing that is something I’m still not 100% comfortable with and right now I’m looking for someone who’s established and is making the butter. For a cookie to work, it really depends on the strain and the potency of the marijuana in the butter.
The original idea was to do Toll House-style cookie dough. You buy the dough in a package of six and they’re ready to bake off. Just keep the cookie dough in the fridge 7-14 days. Then put it in the freezer if you can’t use it.
I’ve been playing with how potent the cookies are, and how well they freeze. The first few times I made the double chocolates ones the texture was too doughy. I’ve been reading Cooks Illustrated on how to make chewy cookies and researching different baking textures. It’s been fun having the cookie dough in the house, ready to bake for people in need. I love that.
Bay Area Bites: What are your plans for the New Year?
J.C.: My personal goal is to have the business roll out in some form: find some packaging, and launch in some capacity. I was doing catering and extra work. Now that I have my private chef business set up and have time to focus on projects, I can do just that.
I am also interesting in producing non-medicinal cookies for places like Whole Foods and Bi-Rite Market, for people that don’t desire the marijuana high.
One thing that is really important to me is: life is too short to not enjoy good food. My goal with sweet or savory recipes is to make them more nutritious and have fun experimenting with flavors. I am working on creating medicinal products that both taste good and are beneficial to health and happiness.