Updated: Jun 24
Having now made hundreds of batches of cannabis infused lollipops, I wish that I could say that my results are now perfect 100% of the time. Alas, this is not the case. Candy is super fussy and unpredictable. Adding cannabis to the mix just increases the margin for error. Even after all this time, about 10% of the hard candy batches I make end up in the wastebasket. EASY RECIPES FOR COOKING WITH CANNABIS
The good news is, I've learned some things along the way. Learn from my mistakes! Below are some of my biggest learnings. EASY RECIPES FOR COOKING WITH CANNABIS
1. CANNABUTTER vs TINCTURE? I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. Both are fine. However, either way, you need to make it STRONG!!! If the cannabutter used is not sufficiently potent, you'll end up having to use an excessive amount of the butter and end up with greasy candies. If your tincture is not sufficiently strong, you'll end up putting in so many tablespoons to develop potency, that you will cool down the candy and make it seize up before it can be poured into the candy molds. In general, I will only make hard candies with cannabutter that provides at least 25mg of THC per gram of butter or tincture that provides at least 40 mg of THC per teaspoon of tincture. EASY RECIPES FOR COOKING WITH CANNABIS
2. ADD YOUR CANNABIS, COLORS AND SEASONINGS AT
THE VERY END, ALL AT ONCE: Bear in mind that hard candies must be cooked to 300 degrees Fahrenheit to set properly, but cannabis begins to degrade when exposed to temperatures above 248 degrees. Additionally, flavor extracts will begin to burn off around 300 degrees. As such, I cook my hard candy recipes to 300 degrees, pull them off the burner and let them cool to 265 degrees, at which point I add all the cannabis, flavoring, and colors, all at once. While the candy is cooking, I leave them near the burner (not too close, as the alcohol in tinctures and extracts is highly flammable), to warm them up a bit, so that they don't cool down the candy base too much when added.
3. DO NOT SEASON WITH EXTRACTS: Conventional extracts are not potent enough to stand up to the harsh taste of cannabutters and infused tinctures. You'll end up having to use way too much to get a good taste, and cooling down/seizing up your candy mix.
I recommend the LorAnn Super Strength flavorings for all cannabis candy making. You'll use a lot less of them, and thusly cool down your candy mix a lot less when adding them. They are expensive, but if you're using them infrequently, you can dram size bottles (enough for 1 - 2 batches of candy) at Michael's stores or on Amazon.com. EASY RECIPES FOR COOKING WITH CANNABIS
4. COOK IN COPPER POTS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE:
Temperature cool down is the enemy of candymaking. Copper pots will hold temperature for much longer than any other pots, giving you time to pour the candy mix into your molds. I use Mauviel's Copper Sugar pots. They are insanely expensive, but if you're making a lot of candy, it's worth the investment. If you want to take the plunge, you can get them online at Williams Sonoma: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/mauviel-copper-sugar-pot/?catalogId=79&sku=4782835&cm_ven=PLA&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=Cookware%20%3E%20Saucepans%20%26%20Sauciers®ion_id=669950&cm_ite=4782835_14571727833&gclid=CjwKCAjwrJ-hBhB7EiwAuyBVXeiu_HZ9RRzE-5sZYHGc9C7KaPcisk6XVxyu1SqfgbiDP-5G9WXYuxoCrpcQAvD_BwE
5. WEATHER CONDITIONS MATTER (A LOT): If it's raining, or predicted to rain, put down your candy pot and go find something else to do. Same for a high humidity day. Hard candy sucks up any excess moisture in the air, and will not set properly. If you absolutely must cook in humid weather conditions, increase the cooking temperature and hope for the best. On a humid day, I go to 305 degrees (versus 300 degrees on a normal day) to get a good result. If you live somewhere that's perpetually humid, or cook in a damp area, such as a basement, think about investing in a dehumidifier for your work area.
I do hope these tips are helpful to you! Give them a go and drop me a line to let me know if these tips improve your end product.