How to make caramel edibles and some cosmic cannabis oil

At this year's Cosmic Cocktail, an attendee handed me a caramel edible that was so potent its smell filled the AVAM elevator as I headed upstairs. It also kept me high for the whole evening. It wasn't only how stoned it got me but the whole presentation—it was wrapped in parchment paper and it wasn't just some candy full of weed but a really artful balance where the delicious caramel taste was lightly accented by the harsher weed taste. It was something else. So for this year's Weed Issue, we reached out to our Cosmic edibles dude, who for obvious reasons did not want to be named—here he goes by "CMC"—to get the recipe. City Paper Photo Editor J.M. Giordano headed over to CMC's East Baltimore apartment to document the creation of the caramels and bring back a couple of recipes. (Brandon Soderberg)

I got into edibles in college, as I would assume most others have. It started with brownies since you can use vegetable oil and saute your flower and then go right into the mix and bam, you and Ms. Crocker are rocking out a capella TV theme songs in no time.

My cousin came to visit me while I was living in the Outer Banks in North Carolina in the summer of 2002. He showed me how to make this great oil and how it could be used in anything. It was fascinating. Since then I have incorporated cannabis into many varieties of cookies, pies, candies, cakes, spaghetti, French toast, waffles, peppered candied bacon, tuna salad (Greek-style; holy balls—amazing), and coffee.

I like smoking, but eating it, to me, is better. I can pop a caramel at a bar, a cookie on a plane, and I feel euphoric, not heavy-headed. Sometimes I go for a long run, sometimes I hang with my dog jamming out to tunes when we go for walks. Now, I make about half of my edibles for people who have dealt with or are fighting cancer. I have a family member who has intense fibromyalgia flare ups and this helps keep them calm where the previous cocktail of synthesized amino acids did nothing for the pain.

I still enjoy drinking, but I am doing so less and less these days. (CMC)

Cannabis Oil — CMC's Family Method

-2 cups refined coconut oil (you may use unrefined, but some folks may be put off by the coconut taste in some edibles and it has a slightly lower smoke point, so it can burn easier when you are baking/making treats).

-14g flower of choice (Do not use shake. Use the good stuff. You are an adult.)

Step One: Decarboxylation

This separates the THC-A into THC—the heat from the oil alone won't be enough to cause this reaction. Set oven to 240 degrees. Important: Use an oven thermometer inside the oven and do not rely on your thermostat to gauge temperature. You may have to set it at 260 to get 240, and you may have to open the door to cool it down, but you do not want to have your flower above 250 for more than five minutes. Anything over 250 degrees will cause your flower to singe and will result in a bitter-tasting oil.

Next, you grind the flower with a grinder. Coffee grinders tend to leave too much behind, so use a hand grinder or roll between your hands. But be careful, you will also remove the oil you are trying to capture if you do it with your hands. Remove all stems (you shouldn't have much, maybe some for larger buds) and place in a glass baking pan spread out. Place in oven that is 240 degrees on the inside (your oven setting may say something different and that is OK).

Every 20 minutes, remove, stir your flower, and place back in the oven for an hour. After an hour, remove from baking pan into a bowl to cool. Your house will smell amazing—so I suggest keeping the windows closed.

Step Two: The Oil

Use a small slow cooker or pan on your stove (though a pan is not recommended) and heat two cups of coconut oil until 140 degrees. Place cooled, baked, ground-up flower into the oil and let sit for 20 minutes before the first stir. Monitor the oil so that it never goes above 200 degrees or below 120 degrees. I tend to keep my oil constant at 180 for six and a half hours, stirring every time I turn the slow cooker on or off. You are now about eight hours into this process.

Step Three: Straining

Either let the oil completely cool or strain while warm through cheesecloth and into whatever you'd like. I divide it up into four, four-ounce containers to substitute as one stick of butter in a recipe. Stores in the fridge for six weeks, three months in the freezer.

I always use one container of oil for edibles because I am not trying to see the world from a jet plane. A treetop is more my speed. If you want to make your edibles more intense, experiment with your recipes or make your edibles larger.

Caramel Edibles

-2 cups white sugar

-1 cup light brown sugar

-1 cup light corn syrup

-1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream (full fat)

-1 cup (8 oz) evaporated milk (full fat)

-1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter (between 74-82 percent milkfat)

-4 oz cannabis coconut oil

-1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except for the vanilla extract into a medium sized pot on a burner set to 80 percent heat and stir occasionally until all is melted and consistent. With a candy thermometer in the pot, increase heat to almost full burner and stir every five minutes. Mixture will bubble and may increase in volume. If this occurs, turn down heat to low for five to 10 minutes and stir, then increase heat again.

Prepare a glass pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. If no parchment paper, grease pan with a light coat of butter. This will make your candy greasier and will reduce shelf life. Parchment paper is highly suggested.

When mixture hits 250 degrees immediately pull from heat and continue to stir slowly to prevent the mixture from burning on the pot. Slowly mix in the vanilla extract being careful to not let it touch the pot—this will burn the extract. It can give a stronger flavor if done right, but if it's your first time, it is not worth risking.

As you continue to mix, pour finished mixture into your desired cooling receptacle and let sit until cool (approx. 5-7 hours). If you want to hurry the cooling process, do not use a glass pan; use a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay completely flat in the freezer for at least an hour after letting sit out for at least 15 minutes to set.

Cut caramels to your desired size/potency and wrap individually in wax paper. Keep in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to six months.

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