Christina Wong is a culinary cannabis educator, recipe creator, and self-described “baked baker” whose expertise making her own edibles has garnered widespread attention throughout the industry. From beautifully decorated shortbread desserts, elaborate cakes, and a wide variety of other delicious creations, Wong frequently celebrates the intersection between culinary art and cannabis.
Through her creative media company Fruit + Flower Co., Wong teaches others how to properly understand the process of making their own edibles by demystifying the terminology, reviewing the methods of infusion, discussing correct dosing, and providing numerous recipes to put all the learning into practice. High Times took a moment to chat with Wong about tips for beginners, which infusion methods are best, and what’s trending in the edibles scene.
The Art of the Home Edible
To Wong, food and cannabis are a perfect combination.
“If you like cannabis, you love food, because the best thing in the whole world is to get high and eat,” she says.
Despite this, many people miss out on the enjoyment of homemade edibles because cooking with cannabis can be intimidating.
“When I first started looking [for information], there was this mystique and mystery to making edibles,” Wong says. “For me, there was definitely a fear of messing up or making it too potent, getting too high, or giving something to somebody that gets them too high. I want to challenge people to rethink that we can make cannabutter and edibles at very low doses, it doesn’t have to be all super high dose.”
Buying edibles at the dispensary is convenient, but it can be cost prohibitive, she says.
“I think that cannabis is such an important plant medicine that the more people know how to cook and bake at home so that they can give themselves and their loved ones medicine, the better.”
Wong shares that one of the most primary essentials to creating edibles is understanding proper dosing. Instead of decarbing flower and infusing a fat like cannabutter she recommends beginners try adding an oil-based tincture in which the THC dosing is already measured. Once confidence is established, home cooks can start to learn how to decarboxylate their flowers or trim. All of the recipes Wong posts online use whole flower infused with either cannabis-infused butter or oil, and include directions to dose at 5 mg per serving or less.
For first timers, Wong recommends going for an easy decarboxylation method: Mason jars in an oven.
“Everyone has a Mason jar, everyone has an oven, and it’s foolproof,” she explains. “It’s smell proof. There’s less smell. And even if it’s not the most efficient way of getting all of the cannabinoids to convert and to infuse, at least that’s the place to start. And then they can get their confidence, and then try something new.”
Wong explains in more detail on Fruit + Flower Co. that her usual process to decarb cannabis includes placing cannabis flower in a pint-sized Mason jar and sealing the jar with a lid. After setting the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, she heats the cannabis an hour, shaking the jar every 20 minutes. After it is left to cool, the decarbed cannabis can be infused to a fat such as butter or oil.
While Wong has made it her goal to educate and inspire others to learn how to make their own edibles, it is but one facet of her expertise. In the past, Wong worked with brands and organizations to create unique desserts, such as Source Cannabis and Stündenglass. Most recently, she helped host the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) 3rd Annual Mogu Magu party (Mogu meaning mushroom in Chinese, and Magu is the name of a Chinese hemp goddess) held in September to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.
Although she recommends using whole flower for beginners, Wong sometimes branches out to use a variety of other types of cannabis ingredients in her more elaborate creations.
“I’ve been experimenting more cooking with concentrates just because I love the pure flavor of that,” she says. “You can get so much flavor and terpene profile and high potency using concentrates.”
Making edibles at home offers unlimited potential, but edibles sold in dispensaries are usually more limited. But recently Wong has noticed an increase in edibles infused with solventless concentrates as well as savory edible offerings.
“I’m seeing more solventless edibles coming out onto the market because I think people are caring more about the quality of not just the ingredients of what goes into their edibles, but also the quality of the cannabis that goes in,” Wong says. “But I think if you are a plant enthusiast, and you want to appreciate all flavors, and everything the plant has to offer, solventless is absolutely the way to go.”
Recipe: Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Shortbread Bars
by Christina Wong
Soft and crumbly, these luscious browned butter and vanilla shortbread bars are glazed with a creamy vanilla bean icing. Infused with 10 mg of cannabis each, strains such as Wedding Cake and Biscotti with doughy, creamy aromas, would pair well with the nutty, vanilla notes of this edible.
The showstopper decor is my signature “botanical bandit” style, made with pressed cannabis leaves and organic edible flowers. Inspired by my friend The Velvet Bandit, who spreads positive art through wheatpasting.
Time to Prepare: 55-60 minutes
Makes 20 approximately 3” x 1.5” bars dosed at ~10 mg each
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 ½ cups cannabutter (200 mg THC total), softened*
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon choice of milk (whole, oat, hemp, almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
¼ cup choice of milk
Small cannabis fan leaves and edible flowers for decoration, rinsed and pat dry (Optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the cannabutter over medium high heat until the butter starts bubbling and turns golden brown. Butter browns at 250 degrees F, a low enough temp to prevent cannabinoid and terpene burnoff. Remove from heat to cool to room temp, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to chill until the butter has solidified from liquid to softened state. Stir occasionally. Can be made ahead and stored until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together softened cannabutter, powdered sugar until creamed and fluffy. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk, vanilla bean, and salt on medium speed until combined.
4. Slowly stir in the flour and cornstarch mixture a little at a time until combined. Continue beating until a crumbly dough comes together. It should feel like crumbly soft sand that holds together. Press together and make sure any crumbly flour bits are mixed thoroughly into the dough. If the dough is too dry and crumbly and not holding together, drizzle and mix in a little more milk until the dough can press and hold together.
5. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Place into the oven and bake on the center rack for 40 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through baking to bake evenly until slightly golden brown on the edges. Remove pan from oven and place onto a rack to cool.
6. Make the Vanilla Glaze: In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with milk and vanilla bean until you get a smooth, thin, runny glaze that just coats the back of a spoon with a thin film. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Set aside.
7. Glaze + Decorate: Place the small cannabis leaves and edible flowers (optional) each scattered across the top of the cookie. Pour glaze evenly on top of the entire cookie pan and over the cannabis leaves and flowers. Using a small spatula or pastry brush, gently spread to evenly distribute the glaze and coat the decoration. The leaves should look like they’re covered with a sheet of ice.
8. Let the cookie and icing cool completely in the pan until the glaze hardens, three or more hours. Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift the uncut cookie out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 20 rectangles. Store covered in a cool, dry place.
This article was originally published in the December 2022 issue of High Times Magazine.