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Locavore Justin Cascio blogs about sustainable, seasonal comfort food from western Massachusetts.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Cannabis infused hard candy recipe
Advice and instructions for making cannabis tincture and infused hard candies.
Making tincture is an expensive project, and candy, though simple, is a little more dangerous to work with because of the high temperature involved. Still interested? Keep reading.
You will need some special equipment, a significant quantity of high quality cannabis, and a certain fearlessness of disfiguringly hot liquid candy to complete these recipes. When you’re done, you’ll have a supply of tincture that will last for months if stored properly, and some lovely candy that is discreet, and easy to carry and take whenever smoking or vaping is inconvenient.
Because we already make a lot of candy here at the holidays, I had some needed supplies on hand, like a candy thermometer, candy molds, colors and flavors, and cellophane wrappers. If you’re making tincture, you’ll need a glass jar, preferably of a dark color, with a tight fitting lid, and a tincture press.
I already own a small selection of candy molds. My favorite for hard candies, hands down, are a pair of silicone mini cube trays, each with 81 half-inch cubes. I use them both and get something over 110 pieces per recipe. There are many attractive silicone candy molds on the market. You’ll need enough silicone candy molds to hold about 161 ml of liquid candy. Yield will vary depending on the volume and type of tincture and additional flavorings you add.
I had 5″ x 5″ cellophane wrappers on hand that, cut into quarters, were just the right size to wrap my half-inch candy cubes. Hard candies are sticky, so they must be wrapped individually for storage or you’ll have one giant candy.
If you’re making your own tincture, you will want a tincture press. To make strong candies, you need a very strong tincture. Any tincture you can’t get out of the mash is lost to the compost. You can’t make tincture without losing some product in the straining, but you can minimize loss with efficient mechanical pressing.
Before you begin, decide what candy mold you want to use, and how strong you want a single piece of candy to be. I recommend something between 2-10 mg of THC for a small piece of hard candy.
Ten milligrams is what Colorado has standardized upon as a single dose in an edible. If you’re not an experienced cannabis user, or if you’re not experienced with edibles, 10 mg could pack a lot of punch. Individual experiences can vary a lot. Be cautious in dosing until you are familiar with your own candy’s strength. Remember that edibles take longer to come on than smoking or vaping, which are nearly instantaneous. It could take from ten minutes to two hours to experience the effects of edibles.
Determine the volume of a single piece of candy in your mold by pouring water into it, then measuring the water it takes to fill.
Divide the total yield of about 161 ml by the volume of a single piece of candy to find out how many pieces you’ll get from a recipe. Multiply the anticipated number of pieces of candy by the amount of THC you want in each: that is how much THC must be in the tincture you add to the recipe.
When making the tincture, make it strong enough so 1/8 cup or less is sufficient to infuse a whole recipe of candy.
Added flavor and color are both optional. A very strong tincture has an herbal flavor that pairs well with many spices and fruits. A 2 mg hard candy will taste principally of the added flavoring, while a 10 mg candy will taste mainly of tincture. I recommend using LorAnn Hard Candy Flavoring Oils or a high quality alcohol based extract.
Stronger candies are also darker in color. The second candy from the top in the photo is of 10 mg strength and has no added color. Milder candies will have a lighter tint.
The candies pictured were made with 1/4 cup of glycerin tincture each, but of different strengths of tincture, so the top two candies are much stronger than the next three. Using a quarter cup of tincture made them difficult to work with, and some of them did not solidify well, which is why I recommend you make your tincture strong enough to use half as much. Your hot liquid candy solution will be easier to blend, and the finished candies will be less sticky. Also, alcohol will mix in more smoothly than glycerin. Tincture is added at the end of candy making, when the mixture has cooled enough that it doesn’t degrade the active ingredients.
The top pictured candy is a 10 mg strength piece flavored with raspberry, and colored with three drops of royal blue coloring. The second piece is pear flavored, of the same strength as the raspberry, but has no added color. The next three pieces are of 2 mg strength. The middle candy is flavored with 2 tsp of Key lime extract, and colored with a drop each of yellow and green. The very gooey looking yellow one is not solid because in addition to the quarter cup of tincture, I used a quarter cup of ginger syrup to flavor them. There’s no added color in these, either: the hue is a combination of tincture and ginger syrup. They taste great, and I’d try making them again, adding the syrup with the sugar before cooking, instead of at the end with the tincture and color. The bottom candy pictured is cherry flavored. I probably colored these with two drops of red color, but didn’t make a note of it.
|Strong glycerin tincture|
For either glycerin or alcohol based tincture, begin by decarboxylating the cannabis. (Or follow this procedure for a one-pot decarb/steep.) Grind it, spread it out on a baking sheet, and bake it at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. (Some sources say that decarb’ing is not necessary with alcohol, but the same sources demonstrate decarboxylating before making an alcohol based tincture. The flavor is better if you decarb.)
If you’re using glycerin, mix the glycerin and decarboxylated bud into a crock pot, set it to Warm, and let it gently cook for as many hours as you like. I haven’t found any evidence in favor of very long steep sessions, but many sources will advise you to steep a heated solution for up to twelve or even twenty hours, and a cold solution for as long as a year! Five hours works perfectly well for making a glycerin tincture. If you’re making an alcohol tincture, mix the alcohol and decarboxylated cannabis, and steep at room temperature for three hours. According to one source, longer than three hours draws out the chlorophyll. But if you decarboxylate, the chlorophyll is destroyed, so that’s not a concern. Chlorophyll is not psychoactive and its flavor and color can be unpleasantly assertive. Another option with alcohol is to steep it in the freezer.
Justin shares seasonal recipes based on what's available in western Massachusetts, and gives practical advice on making your own comfort food from scratch.