Although the already vast cannabis edible landscape is getting more expansive every day, cannabis cookbooks still aren’t as culturally diverse as we’d like. Although many of these books are intended for foodies and gourmet aficionados, preparing those recipes can be a little intimidating, especially if you haven’t cooked with cannabis before. This straightforward recipe book, dubbed “The Weed Gummies Cookbook,” has more of a niche focus on gummies and gummy-adjacent foods with a gourmet twist.
Author and photographer, Monica Lo, brings her heritage and experience to the world of canna literature with recipes for bubble tea, sour yuzu drops, lychee jelly and more. The gummy and jelly recipes actually warrant an entire section, with mouthwatering options like blackberry thyme gummies and sour pink lemonade gummies. There are also inclusions like a cannabis-infused bubble tea with all the fixings, which is definitely a much-needed upgrade from your average pot brownie. She even includes recipes for lavender chamomile sleep gummies which can be the ultimate sleep hack for insomniacs. Her personal favorites include the crispy, crunchy and chewy Snowflake Crisp Nougat, which is a popular Taiwanese treat during Lunar New Year, as well as the Salted Mocha Caramels, which she recently baked into a batch of snickerdoodle cookies.
Before the actual recipes, Lo tells us about herself, provides safety & dosage info (free customizable warning labels with dosages are a great touch), and has a detailed section on infusion basics, including a 101 on decarboxylating the recipes for bases to infuse your gummies with. Newbies can start out with the cannabis-infused MCT oil or butter, while more experienced consumers will appreciate the kief-infused honey. Lo also guides consumers on how to sous-vide their infusions, which allows you to make multiple infusions themselves.
After herniating a spinal disk, Lo was prescribed opioids and acetaminophen. After experiencing negative reactions as a response, she tried edibles for the first time when they were offered by a roommate. Ever since then, Lo researched how to make her own infusions, and developed her odor-free sous vide method after needing to figure out a discreet way to minimize odor in her non-smoking building.
“First I tinkered with cannabis-infused oils and butter using my sous vide machine. I think one of my very first recipes was a basic chocolate truffle but it quickly escalated. Soon after I was juicing cannabis leaves for my smoothies and trying to cure gravlax with kief and sugar,“ Lo tells us.
The recipes themselves are divided up into four sections: gummies & jellies, soft caramels & nougats, hard & brittle and sugar alternatives for those who can’t consume sugar or are just craving something a little less sweet. Dosage-wise, strength can be increased or decreased based on preference, but Lo designed the candies to be micro-dosed and hence very snackable (between 1 and 5 milligrams per piece) since it’s no fun to snack on just one piece of candy.
On why she decided to focus on candies, Lo says, “in 2021, cannabis edibles sales in medical and recreational states began to skyrocket as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We started to see consumers choosing edibles, specifically gummies and candies, over inhalable forms of consumption. It was the perfect timing to work on a cookbook focused on sweet treats.”
Although lots of cannabis recipes are comprehensive with hundreds of recipes to flip through, sometimes an excess of options can be intimidating, and a smaller curation can be more accessible. Lo doesn’t try to come up with every savory and sweet recipe possible — instead, she sticks to grown-up versions of beloved sweets, some of which carry an Asian-infused touch. Creativity and explosive flavor combinations are really where this cookbook author shine — miso butterscotch caramels and honeycomb brittle with almonds and sesame seeds are a revelation.
Those who dare to dub this elevated yet accessible book as a cookbook filled with “just candy” recipes are seriously missing out. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, the lemon rosemary party nuts that finish off the book will be a serious crowd-pleaser at any gathering that you host.
Plus, Lo’s homage to her Asian culture adds an important point of view to the discussion surrounding edible cannabis. In fact, a deep research dive led her to discover that the medicinal properties of cannabis were first recorded in an ancient Chinese pharmacological book written in the second century by the father of Chinese herbal medicine, Shen Nong. In 2015, Lo co-founded Asian Americans for Cannabis Education to start a conversation about the stigma surrounding cannabis and legalization in many Asian American communities.
A fantastic collection of customizable treats that can be frozen or gifted to loved ones on special occasions, the Weed Gummies Cookbook brings a refreshingly minimalist and unique perspective that teaches us all about the art of cooking with candies and infusions. Best of all, if you can swing the author’s discreet sous vide method, even those living in non-smoking conditions can partake. For now, Lo is taking a small break after accomplishing the feat of writing, designing, and shooting all the photos for The Weed Gummies Cookbook while pregnant.
Lo hopes that this cooking book is a stepping stone and that her next work when she returns from extended maternity leave will tackle other projects beyond gummies and sweets.
READ MORE: If you’re looking to start out with your own guided gummy infusions at home before purchasing The Weed Gummies Cookbook, check out LEVO’s gummy kit.