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Bay Area Cannasseur: Cooking gadget simplifies homemade cannabis edibles

by Sari Staver

The Magical Butter Machine simplifies homemade cannabis-infused edibles. Photo: Sari Staver
The Magical Butter Machine simplifies homemade cannabis-infused edibles. Photo: Sari Staver  

A cooking gadget has revolutionized the preparation of homemade cannabis edibles.

Whether it's something as simple as adding some pot to your Betty Crocker brownie mix or infusing your chai latte with cannabis, the Magical Butter Machine makes even an amateur cook feel like a sophisticated graduate of a culinary academy.

I'm not just repeating the advertising copy on the box of the Magical Butter Machine (http://www.magicalbutter.com), I'm speaking from experience. For the past two months, after receiving a free test drive of the butter machine, I have not shopped at a dispensary for edibles or beverages, instead enjoying and sharing my treats. So far, I've used the machine to infuse both butter and coconut oil, which I've then used in a variety of cookies, coffee, and chocolate-based beverages.

Admittedly, I was able to use the machine at no cost, a standard practice for journalists who review products. But with my ambitious plans to make homemade edibles for holiday gifts this year, I'm confident that the machine's $200 price tag is worth it.

Basically, the machine has an immersion blender combined with a digital thermostat and a heating unit. The machine blends, heats, stirs, grinds, and steeps the materials at the right temperature and the right time intervals.

Apparently, the device is catching on with the public, said sales manager Kenny Contreras, in a recent telephone interview with the Bay Area Reporter. The seven-year-old company, based outside of Tampa, Florida, expects an 80% growth in sales this year and 100% next year, said Contreras. At the beginning of the pandemic, the company had some issues with getting timely shipments of the product, which is made in China. Once those were resolved, sales ramped up.

Contreras said the device was designed by the company's 42-year-old founder and CEO, Gary Angel, to help a friend suffering from Crohn's disease. The company also sells accessories for the machine and is planning to add other related products.

Every aspiring home canna cook, usually someone in their teenage years, tosses a handful of raw flowers into a cake mix or into a pot of red sauce for pasta, wondering why it tasted so awful and made them feel a little queasy, not high.

That's because, as you learn in cannabis cooking 101, raw buds off the vine are ready to smoke or to vape, but must be carefully preheated to be used in cooking or baking, in order to activate the plant's active ingredients, the cannabinoids THC or CBD. After heating in a low oven, your flowers are ready to be ground up and added to a fat, such as butter or oil, that the cannabis can bind to.

With the butter machine, you toss the toasted ground flowers into the metal blender, add melted butter or oil, hit a couple buttons and, in two hours, your infused butter or oil is ready to use.

To me, what's special about serving or gifting cannabis edibles to friends is that it's a product that cannot be purchased anywhere in the Bay Area, because complicated state and federal laws prohibit bakeries or restaurants from cooking and serving freshly made infused products. So unless your guests or recipients also cook with cannabis, it's likely that the infused edible you make and serve may very well be the first homemade, fresh, cannabis-infused edible they've had.

An important thing to remember is that the effects of consuming cannabis-infused coconut oil or butter are usually slow-acting and long-lasting. It might take up to two or three hours for you to feel its maximum effects, and those effects could last for as long as four to six hours, depending on strength.

Using the butter machine, the only tricky part of the cooking or baking process is carefully measuring the dose of infused product in each serving. Newbies to cannabis edibles often overdo it (not dangerous, just very unpleasant) and then get discouraged when the effects of the edible are slow to kick in, thus, they wind up overeating.

If you want to bake some infused edibles the old fashioned way, without the machine, there are hundreds of websites offering advice on various stovetop and slow cooker methods. To accomplished culinary experts, using a sous vide device to prepare foods to cook at a preset temperature, this can also be used to make cannabis-infused products. This manual method is more complicated, thus less foolproof that the mechanized process.

I'm typically not a fan of new kitchen devices, like Instant Pot, because they are typically just a fancy slow cooker. But for me, this cooking toy would be a good investment, with just the savings I enjoy from eliminating expensive dispensary products as well as replacing store bought holiday gifts.

While there may be other devices to make cannabis cooking simple, I couldn't find any when I did an internet search. And if you do decide to get one, you can join the other 38,000 Facebook users who belong to Magic's online group, "Magic Butter Users United," where you'll get answers to questions you didn't know you had.

If that's not enough support, Magic has an extensive website with dozens of links to recipes and other related topics.

And to top it off, the company offers a free seven-day a week customer support service, live on weekdays and via email on weekends. If the calls I made to the hotline are at all typical, the wait time is minimal and the staffers go the extra mile to answer your question. You don't have to be a stoner to work there, but many of the staff enjoy cannabis, said sales manager Contreras.

Bay Area Cannasseur runs monthly. To send column ideas or tips, email Sari Staver at sfsari@gmail.com

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