Consider weed the Swiss Army Knife of your holiday vices, here for the highs and lows of tradition. And just like Christmas cookies and ales, cannabis has its own share of holiday warmth and decadence to enjoy during the winter — especially now that strains named after cookies, cakes and pies have taken over dispensaries. To keep you sane as the nights get longer, here are ten sweet, doughy weed strains to try around Colorado.
Like eating too many cookies before dinner, enjoying Lava Cake too early in the day will quickly turn into a sinful experience. But isn't that what holiday treats are all about? This hybrid of Thin Mints and Grape Pie is gaining a reputation for its sweet, buttery flavor and spine-melting high, which make me too lazy to be an adult within two hours. Waiting for Lava Cake until right before a post-dinner movie was perfect, though, and two bowls kept me interested, elated and curious before my eyes slowly cemented shut on the couch.
Apple Fritter represents a true clash of the titans in the world of cannabis genetics. In one corner you have Animal Cookies, born from Fire OG and Girl Scout Cookies and carrying several OG-leaning qualities in flavor and effects. In the other is Sour Apple, a product of Cinderella 99 and Sour Diesel — a quintessential energy strain. Breeding those lineages together sounds like mixing a bulldog with a border collie, and I'm all for it.
Not all opposites spark something magical after they attract, but this hybrid is a home run. The heavy OG and uplifting citrus qualities are seamlessly connected by sweet, cheesy notes, which add more variety and balance to the flavor — and could reflect how Apple Fritter's effects achieve a similar harmony, giving me something a little more calming than a 50/50 ratio but still capable and alert enough to handle the day. Smoking Apple Fritter throughout the day eventually wound me down to a halt, however, and gave me the appetite of a pre-hibernation grizzly bear.
Cookie Monster has a reputation for relaxing users, and it’s known for snowballing effects that chip away at stress and pain before you crumble into bed. The intensifying high is somewhat rare for potent strains, mounting fifteen to twenty minutes after smoking and sending cocky stoners to sleep early. Anyone smoking this strain as quickly as its Sesame Street namesake mows down cookies can’t blame Mr. Snuffleupagus for a lost day, because lack of productivity is a common (and often sought-after) aspect of the high. Like most strains bearing the Cookies moniker, Cookie Monster carries flavors that would be at home inside a cereal box or ice cream shop, full of hints of sourdough and creme de menthe on top of the usual weed notes of Kush, sandalwood and dank earth. Keep this one in your cookie jar and it’ll just get better.
Bazookies isn’t named after the giant à la mode cookie sliced like a pizza (that’s a pizookie), nor is it the same as Zookies, a mix of Animal Cookies and Gorilla Glue #4. No, Bazookies is a hybrid of Bubblegum and Girl Scout Cookies, in which old and new genetics meld into a relaxing yet productive high that works almost any time of day. Bred by Klone Colorado, Bazookies is a strapping young plant popping up at wholesale grows, clone stores and pot shops along the Front Range. While I still lament the lack of classic Bubblegum available at Denver dispensaries these days — the sweet, chalky Kush flavor seems to be outdated for today’s pot industry — I was happy to take one of its children for a spin. After a tolerance break for a week and some early hesitation about the smell, Bazookies did not disappoint.
Perfect for a snow day, Mandarin Cookies is a cross between an indica-leaning Girl Scout Cookies phenotype, Forum Cut Cookies, and Mandarin Sunset, a sativa-dominant hybrid of Herijuana and Orange Skunk. Each bud hits your nose like a gust of wind, pumping out sour, earthy and Diesel notes with a doughy, citrus-heavy back end. The sweet, gassy combination is intoxicating before you even pack a bowl. Without much knowledge on the background of Mandarin Cookies (I knew it was a citrus-heavy child of GSC, which I’m very familiar with, so how surprising could it be?), I smoked a joint after breakfast one day, and it was like jumping off a cliff: The immediate effects were exhilarating, but that lasted about ten seconds before my body splattered across the floor.
Although not technically a Cookies derivative, Cornbread's doughy flavor and warm, relaxing high deserve a spot in your holiday lineup. Cornbread’s parents, Rare Dankness #2 and Katsu Bubba Kush, are both formidable indicas, so expect the same melting high from their child. This can be dangerous, given Cornbread’s unique mix of citrus, honey, doughy, herbal and soil flavors, which made it hard to tap out after my first session. Sure enough, I took about ten collective steps in the following hours, most of which I don’t remember.
Not every strain is good for relaxing by the fire, but all levels of Layer Cake are. Fruity berry flavors are noticeable up front, but there are starchy overtones and a funky finish — almost like a rice cake covered in blueberry yogurt. The strain's Triangle Kush and Skunk parents are not to be ignored, however, with hints of rubber and pine lingering around after hits.
Just like ogres and onions, this high is layered, beginning with an intense elation that quickly fades into a functional (albeit slightly slower-moving) body high that keeps me relatively free of pain and completely free of stress.
Prefer your Christmas tree flocked in shiny white snow? This frosty nighttime strain, a mix of Papaya Wedding Cake, is about as intimidating as flower can get, quickly cloaking storage jars with layers of resin and blasting your hair back with a stanky gust of weed, fruit and sourdough every time you dare unscrew the top and open one. My first meeting with Papaya Cake eventually led to a messy, unsuccessful attempt at making a pineapple upside-down cake to satisfy my munchies — probably because my nose and tastebuds felt like I’d just broken up and smoked a tropical dessert. However, its bite wasn’t too bad, allowing me to stay high and happy all day without becoming a stoned puddle of giggles.
This dessert smoke was the result of collaborative breeding between Cannarado and the Los Angeles-based Jungle Boys. The two renowned growers crossed the White — a popular strain for THC potency but not necessarily flavor — with White Wookie, a lesser-known mix of White 91 (the White and Chemdog 91) and Girl Scout Cookies. If someone had told me that Cookies and Chemdog influences had been given such a blank canvas, I'd have expected a gassier version of Girl Scout Cookies. Instead, Strawberry Shortcake flicks my nose with a fruity blast up front, surprising my nostrils before thick notes of sourdough and gas fumes kick in the door. (I unwittingly opened my jar of weed over my heating vent, which I will recommend that everyone with floor heating do from now on.)
Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake has quickly become a top-shelf strain in Denver, and for good reason. The mix of Wedding Cake and Gelato #33 from Seed Junky Genetics carries a long lineage of Girl Scout Cookies, Durban Poison and Kush hybrids and phenotypes. The strain is a poster child for what a modern flower connoisseur wants, covered in a thick, sticky layer of resin like a powdered doughnut, with sweet, creamy notes of vanilla, dough and hash, to boot.