Best Batch Yet: A Durban Poison – Cannabis Cookies Collaboration

PART ONE

It was a chance encounter between Althea and Donna, two erudite and enlightened educators enrolled in a summer Shakespeare seminar here in the City of Angels that sparked a successful cannabis-converting collaboration between the legendary Lord Sassafrass and the powerful Prince Jazzbo. Althea and Donna would become widely known and beloved for their 1977 reggae-pop hit, “Uptown Top Ranking”, which versioned many earlier reggae hits including Trinity‘s “Three Piece Suit and Thing” and Alton Ellis‘s original / Marcia Aitken‘s cover of “I’m Still In Love with You”:

Their musical collaboration and success would come later, but in the interim both women were very pleased to connect their spouses, also future reggae notables. Donna’s partner, Lord Sassafrass, would eventually find commercial success, but his earlier records would prove the best. His work with the great Lee Scratch Perry on his Upsetter produced 1978 single, “Green Bay Inquest”, a version of Perry’s earlier production of Debra Keese & The Black Five’s “Traveling”, would become a highlight of his early career :

Althea’s better half, Prince Jazzbo, had already been producing his own records and would in 1976 work with Channel One‘s Bunny Lee in King Tubby‘s studio on the LP “Kick Boy Face” (a name later assumed by the French-Los Angeles punk denizen and Slash magazine scribe, Claude Bessy) and with Lee Scratch Perry and the Upsetters in Black Ark Studios on Jazzbo’s classic album, Ital Corner“Natty Past Through Rome”, which Perry would also dub up for the b-side, “Rockstone Dub”, would be considered a classic track from this latter LP.

Althea and Donna were yet to join forces for musical fame; they first had to find common ground for a friendship. As it turned out, the two top-notch teachers lived in almost perambulatory proximity, which was particularly productive because shortly after the start of their seminar, the pedagogical pair readily ride-shared the course’s first field trip. During the drive the duo casually conversed about their better halves’ present preoccupations. The revealing repartee coaxed out a core commonality in their partners’ philosophies indicating a keen interest in cannabis. Donna gave Althea some rhetorical reconnaissance about Lord Sassafrass’s emergent enterprise, a privately built virtual spacecraft of the mind called Swedish Flying Saucer,  just then climbing celestially towards a cosmic perch from which to capture the current character of the California cannabis industry. Althea was animated in acknowledging Sassafrass’s activity and advised Donna accordingly about Prince Jazzbo’s parallel penchant for homegrown herb and cannabis confections. For the rest of their ride, Althea and Donna related to each other their respective spouses’ commitments to cannabis.

Lord Sassafrass LP Cover
Lord Sassafrass on the cover of his 1985 LP Poccomania Jump

Donna described Sassafrass’s tried and true talent for converting fresh cannabis flower into carefully crafted comestibles, and Althea readily rejoined that her roommate, Jazzbo, had a green grow happening at the homestead and was feeling out for a fellow traveler to convert his cannabis into a connoisseur’s cornucopia. In no time at all these two inspired instructors constructed a prospective collaboration between the two men that would engage their effusive interest in herb and commence correspondence between them.

Prince Jazzbo, 1976
Prince Jazzbo, 1976 (Photo: Getty Images/Mojo Magazine)

Jazzbo cabled Lord Sassafrass about his grow and mentioned his mission to find someone to make marijuana medibles. It was a fine and inviting bit of outreach, but Sassafrass declined the offer, lacking confidence in his cannabis cooking skills. He had made batches upon batches of pungent and potent cookies that most folks couldn’t choke down, jar after jar of bitter, sweet and powerful honey slides that only Neil Young would appreciate, and hundreds of medical maricaps that lost their THC qualities far too quickly. In other words, out of respect for cannabis and for his new contact, Lord Sassafrass at first declined Prince Jazzbo’s offer and suggested contingent considerations, because he did not feel his cannabis cooking skills could be called competent.

In the ensuing days, Lord Sassafrass was at a loss for having missed an opportune moment so closely married to the Swedish Flying Saucer mission. He felt even more morose for missing out on a meeting of the marijuana-minded. Sassafrass continued to compose about and correspond with others in the cannabis industry and was convinced he’d not hear from Jazzbo again. Then one day, a few months later, Prince Jazzbo was back. He messaged Lord Sassafrass a new missive reiterating his reasons for contemplating this cannabis cooking cooperation and announced most modestly an absence of expectation about Sassafrass’s baking. Jazzbo had never met Sassafrass, had only once corresponded with him, and yet was willing to entrust this questionable quantity with a plentiful portion of his planted pakalolo. This was a second chance for Sassafrass to honor the outsourced opportunity and he joyously jumped at the chance to dry, cut, grind, decarb, convert to cannabutter, and then bake the imminent harvest into enticing edibles.

Mature cannabis plant
One of the mature plants on the Prince’s veranda that survived harsh wind & rain

Within days Lord Sassafrass had ascended the hilly heights to Prince Jazzbo’s palace to inhale the sweet, aerated aroma of many mature, verdant, sticky and particularly resinous cannabis plants, still potted and soon prepared for harvest. Jazzbo had patiently plotted and nurtured the plants’ potential for particularly serious potency and as the days grew shorter and the weather grew volatile and somewhat unhinged, he knew harvest time was here and began to prune. The plants had persevered through a ransacking by rain and a weakening by howling winds that harassed the city in the preceding days, and Jazzbo took swift action, sectioning off stems of the strong sativa strain and bringing the weather-beaten buds inside to begin the drying process. Jazzbo thoughtfully hung these stems in his home to have ready for Sassafrass’s haul back to the ‘burbs where he would soon begin his big bake. Jazzbo proved his professionalism with his proactive management and maintenance of his marijuana plants. Jazzbo’s care and concern for cultivating consumable cannabis was clear.

Prince Jazzbo and Lord Sassafrass established in short order that cannabis wasn’t the only commonality connecting the two connoisseurs, as they both maintained masterful musical minds and loved to speak about the subject. Jazzbo took note of Lord Sassafrass’s Sun Ra t-shirt, sparking a sound-centered symposium of sorts as the two men took stock of some of the most sublime, exacting, and on occasion, most estranged music of the past century. Sassafrass was sweetly surprised to hear of Jazzbo’s parallel passion for Beefheart, Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Coltrane, and so many more musicians who sought out the strangeness and spirituality of aural outsider-ism and otherness. Simply put, Sassafrass and Jazzbo marshaled their passion for music, the magnificence of which was magnified once marijuana was in the mix. Whether making music, listening to music, or musing about it, Sassafrass and Jazzbo knew that cannabis, cacophony, and creative cogitation were all connected.

https://youtu.be/EuGAxii7xac

Time passed quickly as the two talked music and marijuana while Sassafrass acknowledged the affable advances of Althea’s and Jazzbo’s sweet and convivial canine. Just as Jazzbo was waxing wisely on the wild musical ways of Pharoah Sanders, his sonorous soliloquy was suddenly superseded by the sound of the dinging doorbell. Prince Jazzbo had invited the good Dr. Alimantado to join in the proto-harvest cannabis pruning and was expecting him. It was clear to Sassafrass at once that Jazzbo’s friend was a true fellow traveler for whom music and marijuana meant more than many other matters. Jazzbo introduced Sassafrass to his good friend whom Sassafrass would soon learn was also a lover of retrograde musical movements. Dr. Alimantado would one day delight denizens with his own percussive patois on tracks such as “I Killed The Barber” from his classic 1978 LP Best Dressed Chicken in Town. Alimantado’s “Barber” was a vamped version of John Holt‘s “Ali Baba”. But for now this trio was but a gathering of a few new friends focused fully on the Prince’s plants, the kind that would inform and influence their future forays as musicians.

Mature Cannabis Plant up close
The Prince’s plants were ready for harvest

After giving his guests a chance to greet each other, Prince Jazzbo paraded Dr. Alimantado around the plants on the patio and broke a few budded branches off of the bunch for Alimantado to dry and trim. Jazzbo then took his visitors up to the den to display to them his box of freshly dried and trimmed flower. Jazzbo generously bagged up a bouquet of buds for both Sassafrass and Alimantado to take home. Jazzbo then proffered Dr. Alimantado and Lord Sassafrass a pipe and the trio sat satisfyingly out above the courtyard and continued their compelling conversation. Sassafrass thought he’d heard Jazzbo say that he’d ceased smoking, which was the reason he wasn’t wafting it up with them, and also the reason he’d offered Lord Sassafrass the edibles enterprise. For the next hour or so, Jazzbo, Alimantado and Sassafrass sat in the shaded sun soaking up all the sounds and stories they could share. The banter was an absolute blast, and Lord Sassafrass left Jazzbo’s princely palace looking forward to future encounters with his new friends.

PART TWO

Lord Sassafrass flew over hill to home in Prius power-mode, with stemmed buds strewn across the rear seats in a wide-open 30-gallon trash bag. Windows down and climate control engaged, the sweet and powerfully pungent scintillation of freshly cut cannabis permeated the Prius. Sassafrass enjoyed the aromatic envelopment almost as much as he sought to be certain that the smell would be silenced in time for the school bell in sixty minutes. Fortunately, Lord Sassafrass stocked particularly potent packets of odor eliminator in his car to aid in ameliorating the olfactory onslaught of odiferous malodorousness.

Drying Cannabis
Jazzbo’s stalks hanging to dry in the garage

Once home, Sassafrass took little time to tease out a tactic for drying the deciduous detachments. He located and lashed twine to metallic rods and cardboard sockets in his garage and ably affixed each of the twelve shimmering bud- and leaf-bearing branches to the twine to dry. After hanging the twelfth branch, Lord Sassafrass stepped back to gaze and gawk at the terrifically trichomed brilliance bound up in each bursting bud. A moderate yet steady drying process precluded any further planning, so Lord Sassafrass found a fan, flicked the switch and sealed the saplings in to deter unwelcome eyes from pursuing the pungent aroma to its present position. There was nothing more for Lord Sassafrass to do than sit for five or six sunsets until the hanging hemp was dry, but not desiccated. While he waited, Sassafrass studied up on the strain and seeds Prince Jazbo had planted to produce such a stunning sativa. Lord Sassafrass sought to understand the strain’s strengths and subtleties and use them as a source of inspiration to coax out his culinary capabilities.

Trichomes
Sparkling trichomes on the drying buds

Sassafrass knew that Jazzbo had obtained the seeds for a pure sativa strain native to Africa called Durban Poison. He started digging and discovered on the website Westword that Durban Poison had been voted in 2015 one of the three most popular cannabis strains in Colorado. This piqued Sassafrass’s interest in the Poison and he pondered Westword’s pronouncement that Durban Poison was a legendary strain, inspiring bootleg imitators and wannabe seed bankers to germinate fakes. Sassafrass was suddenly susceptible to becoming skeptical about the seeds sewn by Prince Jazzbo, but then he recalled Jazzbo’s assertion of the seeds’ African authenticity. Once convinced of the cannabis’s proper provenance, Lord Sassafrass pondered the potent flower’s effects and how its edible form would foster different feelings because of the high concentration of THC.

Air Vape X
The dried Durban Poison vaped nicely in Sassafrass’s AirVapeX

Lord Sassafrass was grateful for the additional multiple grams of dried Durban Poison he’d gathered at Jazzbo’s house thanks to Jazzbo’s generosity and goodwill, and he gladly engaged Jazzbo’s ganja in the days following that first visit. The acrid aroma of uncured herb had dissipated decidedly from Jazzbo’s dried Durban Poison and in its place Sassafrass sensed was the Poison’s more commonly encountered pungent-cum-earthy palette. Sassafrass had detected a diesel flavor when he and Dr. Alimantado bonded over the bowl they smoked at Jazzbo’s and now sensed it again. Lord Sassafrass also ventured to vest a ground up half-gram in his compact vaping unit known at the AirVape X. He first filled his failsafe four-stage grinder full and finessed the fudge-like stickiness of the full flower finally to furnish him with the right dimensions for the device. Next he dialed the digital thermostat to four hundred and twenty-eight degrees and waited a few minutes for full heat before finally filling his lungs with fresh vapor tasting of pine and earth. He did not detect the diesel in the vaped Durban as much as he had when they’d smoked the sativa.

Drying Bud
Undried Durban Poison bud

Lord Sassafrass continued to vape and smoke the Durban flower and gauged the potency and effects produced by Jazzbo’s happening harvest as he awaited the drying process in his garage to be done. He was so accustomed to indica’s comatose couch-lock that he was caught off-guard and pleasantly surprised by the sativa’s sublime cerebral stimulation. Daytime doses of Durban Poison kept Lord Sassafrass focused, energized and on-task, and often found him forgetting he was high. When Sassafrass paused from a task to rest, the high returned rapidly and he was reminded right away that he’d already readied himself with a round of rips from Jazzbo’s homegrown harvest. Lord Sassafrass’s research revealed that the most manageable and meaningful manner in which to master this motivating marijuana was to maintain mental focus and find fun or fascinating activities and follow-thru with them. The effects of Jazzbo’s exotic strain would surprise Lord Sassafrass even more in subsequent days, as his motivation to make explicit the most accurate description of the strain’s full effects encouraged an encounter with flower in a more concentrated, edible form.

Prince Jazzbo’s Durban Poison gave Lord Sassafrass an entirely new experience with cannabis. Sassafrass was a long time indica loyalist who suffered from insomnia and medicated with marijuana to support sleep. Indica, especially in concentrated form, induced relaxation, comfort and occasionally, couch lock. Sassafrass had sampled various sativas in the past, but many were sativa-dominant hybrids, and others were simply unremarkable. Jazzbo’s Durban Poison, on the contrary, was a one hundred percent sativa that affected Sassafrass in ways he was totally unused to. Jazzbo’s poison was almost completely cerebral in effect and left his friend free of languor or limpness in his limbs. Sassafrass sought to summarize the sativa’s superlative high, particularly after consuming the strain in concentrated form, but was unsatisfied with what he’d scribbled down. Fortunately he found a finer account than his own on the Westword website that mirrored his experience and made explicit the effects produced by Jazzbo’s Durban Poison:

The classic sativa hails from southern Africa as a landrace strain, meaning its original genetics were pure and free of anything indica. After being smuggled out of Africa in the ’70s, Durban Poison gained popularity in Amsterdam because of its heavy smell and short flowering period, and it didn’t take long for word to cross the Atlantic. Today, Durban Poison makes a legitimate argument for a spot on the Mount Rushmore of strains, having fathered popular children such as Cherry Pie, Girl Scout Cookies and many more with strong sativa effects.

In other words, Prince Jazzbo had dialed in to a Durban Poison landrace-linked seed source and generated a good three or four mature marijuana plants, a portion of which he had passed to Sassafrass to convert into cannabutter.

PART THREE

Cannabis Trimming set up
Trimming process: Flower was dry enough to come off in Sassafrass’s gloved hands

Back at home, Sassafrass checked on the drying stalks at least a couple of times a day, until after six days and nights in the fully fanned garage, the proverbial flowers were ready for plucking. The stalks were removed cautiously by Sassafrass, who wore light blue nitrile, powder-free, gloves and was ever so careful not to jar or knock the stalks and lose any of the precious, twinkling trichomes. The sleek, tight-fitting examination gloves more than managed to maintain resin-free hands, however the sheerness of their simple design allowed for many random rips requiring re-gloving. Lord Sassafrass self-handicapped his hands even more by missing the message on the massive box of gloves specifying these were for small-sized hands only. Lord Sassafrass’s large hands had no other option than to stuff themselves like sausages into the almost unmanageable prophylactics.

Culled Bud
The buds practically jumped off the stalks, they were so ripe!

The buds were so ripe for plucking that they practically parachuted from their poky stems without Sassafrass’s prodding. The flower wasn’t especially dense, but it was thick and resinous and very sticky, with trichomes covering all visible trim and leaf as well. The cuttings’ floral aroma was pungently piney, but the fresh and very verdant, concentrated chlorophyll in the just harvested hemp caused a greatly enhanced, cascading aroma to claim olfactory authority in the room. Lord Sassafrass had made a modest move to suss out a screen box to aid in the collection of dislodged trichomes, but the boxes weren’t stocked in storefronts. He grabbed instead a glass baking pan over which he carefully pulled the bursting buds free of their branches as his handsome handling of the harvested hemp helped hold the trichomes in place. Sassafrass found almost none in the glass pan when finished. Lord Sassafrass told Prince Jazzbo about the tasks undertaken and took pictures during each phase of the process to provide Jazzbo with photos of his progress. When the cutting was complete, Sassafrass filled up five overstuffed half-pint jelly jars and sealed, bagged and stored them away in a dark place to cure until the next step.

Jar of Harvested Cannabis Flower
One of five full jars of flower Sassafrass culled from the dried stalks

Within a few days of pruning and jarring the potent plant material, it was time for further preparation and processing. Lord Sassafrass retrieved his metallic red four-stage grinder and began loading it with buds, leaf and trim, twisting and pulling the sectioned cylinder back and forth until all resistance to the rotating had been removed. The pungent plant perfume was pulled through the porous grinder portholes and filled the air and Sassafrass’s senses with floral freshness. The sticky, resinous sativa sap kept causing the grinder to get stuck and required patience and persistence to punch through. Lord Sassafrass continued to remove stubborn stems and bits of wood from the buds as he channeled the cannabis into the grinder chamber. Once all the grinding and cutting was complete, Sassafrass consulted his computer to confirm the calculations for countering the carboxyl group in the cannabis, done through a process called decarboxylation. This process converts the carboxyl group, the THC-A, into a cannabanoid the body can consume and integrate psychoactively. Decarboxylation activates automatically when cannabis is consumed by smoking or vaping, because it is heat that causes the THC-A conversion, however it is a manual process necessary to prepare cannabis for consumption in food if the consumer craves the effects of a complete complement of cannabinoids.

Cannabis Prepped for Decarbing
Sassafrass’s home set-up for preparing fresh flower for decarboxylation

Lord Sassafrass preheated the oven to 230 degrees and let it warm while placing parchment paper on cooking pans and putting on the freshly pulverized Poison, spreading it thinly and evenly across the paper. There are multiplicities of heat-time ratios made manifest in magazines, books and on the internet, describing many different decarboxylation methods for converting THC-A. Sassafrass had blogged about the decarbing method and ratio he’d debriefed from Ed Rosenthal’s detailed instructions delivered in his book, From Trash To Stash. Due to the multitude of decarboxylation methods, Lord Sassafrass attempted to assimilate an alternate approach to the elimination of the THC acid and for this conversion considered a course cited at the website Merryjane. Lord Sassafrass previously pivoted away from pulverizing the pillow-like flowers prior to placement on parchment paper, but in this preparation chose instead to churn up the choom before potentiating it. In short, the baking sheets would each portage ground up ganja and occupy the oven for forty minutes at 230 degrees, allowing enough time for the heat to transform the THC-A and further dry the fresh flower to make it favorable for food use.

Decarbed cannabis
Decarbed herb, fresh out of the oven should be a dark green with hints of brown

Days prior at Prince Jazzbo’s palace, Dr. Alimantado and Lord Sassafrass had eagerly eyeballed the sumptuous green stalks geared for grinding and gastronomic engorgement and attempted to gauge the weight of the gangly green limbs. After drying, cutting, pruning, grinding and decarboxylating the ganja, Sassafrass could now engage his simple yet sleek food scale and measure the marijuana. Whatever the original weight of the wetter wampum, the net poundage of the fully nurtured and reduced plant nuggets was nearly two and a half ounces, give or take a few grams. There would be more than ample Durban Poison to make several cups of canna butter for Sassafrass to apportion in preparing potent edibles. Although Lord Sassafrass had much experience cooking with cannabis, he had never concocted cannabutter, nor had he snapped together sweet cookies from scratch. He used to include ground indica as an ingredient rather than filtering the flower finely through cheesecloth, which he now admitted was a preferred path to potency. Lord Sassafrass was determined to downshift the manic medible-making momentum and take care to concentrate on each component of the cannabis conversion rather than contemplating the cookie construction comprehensively. The first course in the conversion was the creation of cannabutter, and Sassafrass courageously cantered up to the counter to commence cooking.

Decarbed flower in jars
The net weight of the decarbed flower was about 2 1/2 ounces

As with the decarbing, Lord Sassafrass consulted a number of competent sources to create his own personal plan. The recipe combined instructions from the myrecipes website, Ed Rosenthal’s “From Trash to Stash” and other sources, to create a formula that balanced butter potency and yield to make the most efficient use of the Durban Poison’s penchant for cerebral stimulation. Two and a half ounces was far too much cannabis to convert in one cook in a home kitchen with limited space and equipment, so Lord Sassafrass began with an ounce of decarbed, ground flower and completed the recipe confidently. Although myreicpes instructions called for four sticks of butter for each ounce of flower, Lord Sassafrass used seven sticks, or three and a half cups, of high quality, unsalted butter. He added the blocky butter to an accommodating cooking pot and with it a quart of water, or at least enough water to keep the plant material an inch or so from the bottom. He then turned on the burner to a very low setting and set the pot to sit there for three hours, simmering but never boiling, then stirred steadily in a regular rotation. Lord Sassafrass carefully concocted his cannabutter by keeping close watch on the temperature and by steering the sativa stew around the pot regularly. Sassafrass scraped the sticky suds from the sides of the pot, keeping the slow-cooking cannabis squarely in the barrel of the buttered water basin.

Butter in a pot
Sassafrass used seven sticks of butter (3.5 cups)

Lord Sassafrass marveled at the minimal marijuana odor emitted over the three hours his sativa sat simmering. He worried it would be much worse. He watched the pot as the watery surface became increasingly shiny and viscous while more buttery bits of the Durban made their way to the turgid top and started to brown. Sassafrass was serious about his first turn at the cannabutter wheel and took the time to monitor most every moment in the merging of cannabis and butter. Finally, after three hours on the stove, the sativa stew’s color had grown dark green and featured golden butterfat floating freely on the surface. Lord Sassafrass liked what he was looking at and found its appearance compared favorably to images found amidst the few recipes he favored. He brought out a large bowl with a broad lip around the edge that would keep the covering cheesecloth from collapsing into the cannabutter. Sassafrass remembered reading in one of the recipes that double layers of cheesecloth were required to remove remnants of the plant while recycling only the buttressed butter into the bowl. He kept the cloth folded to leave the two layers in place and covered half of the bowl with it, then repeated the ritual around the other side of the bowl. Sassafrass retrieved two big rubber bands and slowly stretched them out and over the top of the lip and let them snap around the underside, capturing the cheesecloth and putting it firmly and completely in place.

Cannabutter after 1 hour
Cannabutter after simmering 1 hour
Cannabutter after 2 hours
Cannabutter after simmering 2 hours
Cannabutter after 3 hours
Cannabutter after simmering 3 hours has a shiny, viscous surface (ready to strain)
Bowl with cheesecloth
Double layer of cheesecloth rubberbanded to the lip of the bowl

Lord Sassafrass placed the glass bowl in the empty sink to situate it strategically in preparation for the pour. The cannabis and butter concoction had cooled slightly but merited moderation in handling the still hot and viscous stew. Sassafrass gloved his determined digits and gathered the calming cauldron, then shuffled slowly across the kitchen, keeping the viscous liquid from lurching over the sides. When he sidled up to the sink, Lord Sassafrass steadied himself and ever so patiently prepared to pour the pottage, tipping it tentatively just above the center of the clean cloth covering the bowl. The green translucence of the liquid first leaving the cooking pot poured right through the cloth, though not quite quickly enough to speed the process. Lord Sassafrass took his time, never allowing the butter to pool atop the cloth. As the pot emptied, more plant parts poured onto the cloth and Sassafrass was careful to keep these pieces in place. He soundly scraped the scraps of sativa along the sides and bottom of the pot and pushed them at last onto the warm and potent buttery pile. Lord Sassafrass let the stew sit atop the cloth, allowing butter and water to drip into the bowl before finally, and with much finesse, gathering up the corners of the cloth and collecting them, along with the rubber bands, to put together a kind of poultice. He held the swollen cheesecloth poultice above the bowl while butter and water steadily dripped from the bottom, then grabbed the ball of the poultice with a gloved hand and determinedly squeezed out more of the translucent liquid, careful to keep the cannabis inside the cloth. After the final plant-free drops fell into the bowl, Lord Sassafrass left the spent poultice in the sink and retrieved a silicone lid to fit around the bowl’s lip. He cleared out the back of a refrigerator shelf and before putting the bowl to bed noted the dark green and cloudy white layers that had already formed there.

Cannabutter in cheesecloth for straining
Cannabutter straining in cheesecloth over bowl
Cannabutter remains after straining
Plant Remnants after straining (don’t squeeze the cheesecloth too hard or plant material will come through)
Cannabutter separating from water
Cannabutter just strained and already separating from the water
Freshly strained cannabutter (top view)
Freshly strained cannabutter and water, top view

Lord Sassafrass waited at least twenty-four hours before returning to the refrigerator to check on his creation. He was particularly pleased to see a much clearer layer of water with an almost fluorescent olive layer of butter floating atop it. The first-time butter maker breathed a sign of relief and readied a knife to insert around the edges. He culled the cannabis-infusion carefully, keeping it round and whole, set it on a plate and perused it. He was very pleased with his handiwork and after pausing for a picture, proceeded with the process. He wiped all excess water from the surface of the sativa butter, set down three half-pint jelly jars and secured a sharp knife. Sassafrass broke up the butter into half- and quarter-stick sizes and stuffed the bright green chunks into the jars and sealed them, then replaced the chunked butter trio in the spot formerly occupied by the cooling bowl. He did not know how much butter he bore but knew that there would be enough for a range of recipes. Lord Sassafrass turned to the internet for information, finally finding a familiar resource, the Nestle Toll House baking website, which contained a host of confection how to’s. Sassafrass had a hankering for chocolate chips but had become bored with characterless chocolate chip cookies. He read reviews and reviewed recipes and the result would be even better than he then realized.

Fresh cannabutter
Fresh cannabutter looks like a big green pie. Freeze any not used after 2 weeks.

PART FOUR

1 cup cannabutter
1 cup softened cannabutter

Lord Sassafrass chose as his first cannabutter cooking contest a divine and delicious recipe for chewy chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. The recipe called for one cup of butter – in this case, cannabutter – so he took a jelly jar from the fridge and let the butter sit and soften. In short order, Sassafrass was pressing and tugging and squishing the chunky green butter into a stainless steel measuring cup until full. He followed the recipe faithfully and was finally rewarded with almost five-dozen cookies. Lord Sassafrass was unable to utilize any of the methods for measuring potency he knew other than eating and waiting to feel the effects. Due to the wide range in THC content in different Durban Poison grows it was impossible to estimate the effects. so after the cookies had cooled Sassafrass picked up an average-sized treat and began to eat. His first bite sent a chocolate shockwave to his core, stimulating his senses to such an extent that Sassafrass forgot about the cannabis infusion. He was about to succumb to a second cookie but the remaining cannabutter caught his eye and convinced him to reconsider. Lord Sassafrass did not want to wait but knew there was no other way to sample the strength of the sweets.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Durban Poison Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cannabis Cookies

Lord Sassafrass commenced clean-up operations in the kitchen and by the time he was done with the dishes sensed a sort of cerebral stimulation that he could only source to the sativa strain. Sassafrass had always been interested in indicas to help him handle his insomnia, so the sativa sensation felt unfamiliar to him and made it harder to unpack the potency. Still, the single cookie effect struck him as suggestive of a more substantial high were he to consume a higher count of cookies. Sativa was new to Sassafrass and he liked the focus on the frontal lobe rather than the lugubriousness of couch lock that experienced with indica strains. Consuming a single chocolate chocolate-chip cannabis cookie put him in a good place, but Lord Sassafrass was a special breed belonging to a secret society that sought superior experiences with sensimilla. To that end, he also had a high tolerance for THC and could not be the true guide in gauging the ganja’s potency. Sassafrass knew he must eat more – multiples, in fact – to truly measure the cookies’ ability to ameliorate all unwelcome aspects of existence. Lord Sassafrass was a committed cannabis consumer and believed in the power of cannabinoids to counter life’s many challenges.

Sassafrass contacted Prince Jazzbo to convey to him the completion of the first batch of cookies and call him over to collect his half of the comestibles. Jazzbo was jazzed to drive down to receive delivery and found himself in familiar territory, down the street from a dearly departed denizen Jazzbo designated as a former close friend. The visit validated Lord Sassafrass’s initial impression of Jazzbo as a genuine guy who happened to grow ganja and who was happy to gift it to friends, generously, as he had with his Durban Poison and as he would with his half of the cookies. Sassafrass was downright stunned, yet somehow not surprised, to discover the Prince’s punk past and his palling around with people about whom Sassafrass had only heard stories. Jazzbo’s past was populated with many musicians who’s music Lord Sassafrass loved and still listened to loyally, and Sassafrass felt he couldn’t have been more lucky than to have linked up with his new pal, the Prince. Before leaving, Jazzbo collected his cookies and promised to call Sassafrass with his comments. Jazzbo reported right away that a quarter of a cookie did not render the right results, but that a half of a cookie had him high and happy as a hescher, and he mentioned Metallica as the music that matched his sativa sojourn.

The following day found Sassafrass in the kitchen to concoct another count of cookies. Prince Jazzbo preferred an oatmeal raisin recipe for this round and Lord Sassafrass, though he did not like raisins alone, did like them in oatmeal cookies and opened a new jar of cannabutter to commence cooking. The recipe retrieved by Sassafrass called for a cup and a quarter of cannabutter and he again let it sit and soften before stuffing into measuring cups. Lord Sassafrass also allowed himself the opportunity to combine his chocolate chocolate-chip confections with his current cookie-making by eating three of them before beginning to bake the new batches. The chewy chocolate cookies crumbled in his mouth and cascaded across his tantalized taste buds. Prince Jazzbo warned his unwitting cookie comrades not to be deceived by the delightful taste of the cookies or there would be unwelcome consequences. This caution did not concern Sassafrass or his high tolerance, which is why he eagerly ate three cookies before commencing the oatmeal cook. Lord Sassafrass buzzed along while beating ingredients in a mixing bowl and soon began balling up dough and dropping it on the pan. After an hour or so of adding ingredients and dealing with dough, Sassafrass started to feel the serious effects of the sativa cookies. He was energized and focused, and his head felt like it was about to float off of his body. He was eagerly euphoric and enhanced his kitchen activity with an energy he’d never previously entertained. And at the same time, there were many moments he had no memory that he was milling around on marijuana. Sassafrass saw this when gabbing with the gardener only to recall, half way through the conversation that he was currently of a chronic cannabis consciousness.

Oatmeal Raisin Cannabis Cookies
Durban Poison Oatmeal Raisin Cannabis Cookies

Lord Sassafrass was determined to describe the effects of the Durban Poison concentrated in the cookies but found his words fell short of supplying a full story. Sassafrass searched others’ accounts of the strong sativa and went back to the Westworld website, where he discovered the perfect description:

Feelings can include an uplifting buzz that makes sitting on the couch difficult. Although this is a powerful sativa, paranoia is relatively rare for Durban Poison users, who are typically too busy riding a bike or working around the house to notice much else — making it a possible treatment for depression and drowsiness.

Sassafrass, too, had been buzzed by the strain’s stimulating effects to the extent that he had to keep moving around the kitchen, totally occupied by cooking. When he waited a few moments between mixing ingredients he suspected that his head was halfway to Hungary because it would not halt when he did. During the ensuing days, Sassafrass would sample a few sumptuous cookies and feel fully capable of completing all the cleaning and caretaking of his castle and would then write at his waiting work station about the wonderful way he felt. The Durban Poison did much to dismantle any depression and make the day undeniably delightful. And the concentrated cookies complemented his morning coffee in form and substance. Lord Sassafrass was quickly converting his cannabis compulsion away from indicas and straight to sativa strains.

Prince Jazzbo had invited Dr. Alimantado to accompany him to the Lord’s manor but the good doctor was on call and couldn’t attend. Jazzbo was planning a party, however, and hoped to include all of his cannabis crew in the celebration, so Sassafrass could expect to encounter Alimantado in the months to come. Jazzbo took a second trip overland to retrieve his half of the oatmeal raisin cookies, and Sassafrass still sought stories from Jazzbo about his Hollywood punk heyday. The Prince was again all too affable and accommodating in answering with intriguing anecdotes. Both men were very agreeable with the arrangement and anticipated future association with the aim of converting cannabis into cannabutter, and cannabutter into cookies. Jazzbo grabbed his goodies and headed for higher ground while Lord Sassafrass contemplated the half-cup of cannabutter he still kept in the refrigerator, which was required to be cooked or risk losing its concentrated cannabinoids. He and Jazzbo both felt the refrigerator squeeze and the space taken up where their cookies were situated. Both cooling containers were at capacity and could not accommodate more cookies than they currently were. But the cannabutter could not continue to cool in the fridge and had to be factored into a fresh batch or cookies or be frozen. Lord Sassafrass rounded up his recipes and planned to prepare a brand new batch, this time making mouthwatering old fashioned soft molasses marijuana cookies.

Drying and decarbing flower, converting it to cannabutter and baking cookies had all been much easier than Lord Sassafrass had first thought. In the past he’d prepared his potent cookies using a cheap cookie mix and bottom barrel butter and he’d kept the cannabis in the cookies. Assembling cookies from scratch required some additional shopping steps, but Sassafrass succeeded in finding the ingredients he sought. The molasses cookie recipe called for dark molasses, with more enhanced molasses flavor but less sweetness than regular molasses, and with less barbecue intensity than the blackstrap variety. Lord Sassafrass set out to snag a bottle of dark molasses and stopped off at Pavillions to shop, but the market only had regular molasses. Sassafrass made it to many more markets that morning including two different Ralphs, two different Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Smart & Final. Lord Sassafrass thought he’d got what he needed at Vons, but as he was beating the butter he opened the molasses bottle and looked at the label and lo and behold, it was blackstrap. Lord Sassafrass stayed stoic and stopped the assembly so he could step out to seek out a simple bottle of regular molasses, since dark molasses had disappeared from store shelves. Sassafrass left home and at long last found himself in line at Sprouts, where he’d finally folded and figured the mundane molasses would work well because of its sweetness.

Cookie ball in sugar
Molasses cookie ball rolling in sugar before baking
Cookie balls on parchment paper
Cookie balls on parchment paper

Lord Sassafrass still couldn’t tell how much cannabutter remained in the jar. He stuffed the softened cubes into a measuring cup and came up short. There were approximately one and one third sticks of cannabutter – two thirds short – so Sassafrass substituted some chunks of regular butter to complete the cup. Lord Sassafrass’s patience and persistence finally paid off, as he was able to put all the ingredients together and after rolling the large dough balls in sugar, placed them atop parchment paper on the baking pan. When complete, the chewy molasses cookies were larger in size than the last batches and promised a potent punch even with only the partial infusion of cannabutter. Lord Sassafrass smiled at the gingery smell of the generously apportioned cookies and contemplated consuming one. Sassafrass couldn’t keep away from the brownish-bronze bites covered with crystalline, sparkling sugar, and scooped one up and stuffed it into his open mouth. It was delicious, without a doubt the best batch yet, and within the hour Sassafrass was soaring. He packaged his and Jazzbo’s halves and housed them in the cooler, which now contained cookies in all available compartments. And buried deep in the back of Lord Sassafrass’s freezer still sits a jelly jar containing an ounce and a half of decarbed Durban Poison destined for conversion into cannabutter once the current cookies have all been consumed.

Molasses Cookies
Durban Poison Old Fashioned Soft Molasses Cannabis Cookies
Primitive Zippo
Doing high dives into the California cannabis industry, cannabis culture, cannabis-friendly music and anything else cannabis-related residing in the vast expanse of my turgid cranium.

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