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Stoner MacGyver marijuana review: High Times cannabis cookbook

Now and then, companies send us medical marijuana-related products ranging from vaporizers to board games. We showcase them in our quasi-regular product review section, Stoner MacGyver.

The latest? The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook.

What is it, dude? The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook. It teaches you how to make ganja food, bro.

How much coin will it run me? Just under $20.

Where can I get one? Bookstores around town as well as online retailers.

Stoner MacGyver marijuana review: High Times cannabis cookbook

High Times author and art director Elise McDonough has been writing about edible ganja for the publication for more than ten years and over time has compiled some of her favorite recipies from friends, coworkers and even a few cannabis celebrities.

The book is broken down by chapter into five menu categories, with a sixth chapter devoted entirely to the various methods of extracting cannabinoids into edible products like butter, glycerine and oil. It has the usual warnings about dosage and warnings to take things slow at first when dining on doja cake.

But the book also goes past what you normally see in cannabis cookbooks by taking time to talk about terpines -- the various chemicals in cannabis that give strains distinct smells and tastes. It describes several common terpines, like limonene, myrcene and sabinene, which give some strains a peppery finish.

Strawberry Cough Cake.
Strawberry Cough Cake.

Recipe-wise, it's a very comprehensive book, and probably one of the best to come out in a long time. Not only are there recipes in every skill range, from burned cereal beginner to Julie Childs-level experts, but there's a lot of culinary diversity packed into more than fifty recipes over 160 pages.

Though not the best recipes in the book, the cookbook also features ganja treat recipes from pot icons such as Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg. The latter's Little Snoop Hot Doggy Doggs lack creativity (it's just adding cannabuter and some spices to the hot dog buns), but I can picture the Doggfather coming up with this recipe in a stoned haze in his kitchen.

Nor is the book all sweets and brownies. Starting with appetizers, the book goes through simple, quick items like Ganja Guacamole and Green Leafy Kale Salad in Brown Cannabutter Vinagrette to an Obama-inspired version of samosas. The author of that recipe, High Times columnist Ashley Boudreaux, says it mixes ingredients from Hawaii and Kenya to create an irie appetizer.

Dinner selections run the gamut as well, from Mexican fare to traditional American mac-n-cheese with a stoney twist. Some of the more detailed recipes, like the spanakopita, are things I probably couldn't ever pull off with my limited cooking skills, but it's nice to know I've got the instructions to give it a try.

But if you're like me, pot confections, cookies and cakes are where this book really shines. Of course the book includes recipes for classic stoner foods like brownies and cookies, but it goes much further than that. For the more adventurous, there's Flaming Space Cupcakes, Ganja Pumpkin Pie, vegan Cannabis Carrot Muffins and even a recipe for "Nice Dreams" ice cream from Cheech and Chong.

Which leads us to this week's Completely Unscientific Test: I put the book and my cooking skills to the test by baking a moderately difficult recipe for Strawberry Cough Cake.

Page down to see how the cake turned out and get the recipe.   I know "difficult" is a relative term here, but keep in mind that I'm the type of chef who could find a way to burn a Popsicle.

The finished product.
The finished product.

All of the recipies in the book call for using cannabis oil, tincture or butter in some way. But the Strawberry Cough Cake was unique in that it called for making strain-specific oil from Strawberry Cough buds. I snagged an eighth of organic Strawberry Cough, brought it home and began stinking up my kitchen by grinding the buds up and heating them in cooking oil to extract the goodness. Heating the cannabis also activates the THC molecules --meaning they will react with my body much as if I had smoked the cannabis.

Straining the herb out was somewhat of a challenge since my strainer was rather large, but a few flakes of cannabis in the mix aren't going to harm anything, either. As for the rest, it was pretty easy to go step-by-step and end up with a delicious product.

As for the cake itself, it came out extremely moist and soft, with a hint of ganja smell hidden behind the fresh-baked strawberry sweetness. I managed to sink all my strawberries to the bottom, but otherwise I was surprised at how well everything came out. Moist cake, just the right amount of sweetness, and a little kick of herb about a half-hour later. I could have upped the potency by using more herb, but a slice the size of the one seen here was enough to both appease my sweet tooth as well as get me floored due to the size of the piece of cake I tried.. The buzz came on slow, but within an hour I was near-comatose on the couch.

Overall, the book is a good addition to your shelf, especially if you're not the most creative person in the kitchen but want some new ways of consuming your ganja.

Want to try the Strawberry Cough Cake yourself? Peep the recipe below:

Strawberry Cough Cake

1/3 cup of vegetable oil 3.5 to 5 grams of Strawberry Cough 3 cups of cake flour 1/2 teaspoon baking poweder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon salt 4 eggs 2 teaspoons of lemon extract or vanilla extract 1 cup of milk 4 to 5 chopped strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a wok or heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat vegetable oil and ground cannabis over low heat. Simmer on low for 60 minutes or until cannabis fiber is crunchy. Carefully tip pan and use metal strainer to capture all the particulate while pouring oil into a glass measuring cup.

3. Mix cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add eggs, cannabis oil, extract, and milk, blending with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on low. You want a batter with a smooth consistency and no lumps. Add the chopped strawberries last.

4. Pour batter into a generously greased 9-by-3-by-5-inch loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in to the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. It should be golden brown and spring back gently when it's touched. Avoid opening the oven door too many times while checking.

5. Leave the cake in the pan to cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, then gently transfer it onto a serving plate. Enjoy with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

We can't guarantee all products sent in will be reviewed, but if you've got something you think is the greatest invention since sliced pot-bread, send us an e-mail at marijuana@westword.com.

More from our Mile Highs and Lows archive: "Photos, video: High Times Denver Medical Cannabis Cup recap."


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