Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.
Big Pete’s Treats has taken the local Santa Cruz edibles industry by storm with their brand of cannabis-infused cookies — ubiquitous on the shelves of local medical marijuana dispensaries. This father-and-son business started from scratch, and has grown to occupy a commercial kitchen space since 2011 and currently employs five people. Pete Sr., also known as Big Pete, learned his infusion skills from Oaksterdam University after completing a 13-week course in cannabis cuisine.
Today, Big Pete’s butter vault occupies a secure space formerly used as a walk-in freezer, holding six giant-sized crock pots full of cannabis infusions progressing at various stages. The built-in fan system keeps the smell generated from within the butter vault under control, since the infusions proceed around the clock. Pete has refined his butter-making since Oaksterdam, sharing that “the more you strain it, the better it turns out.”
While Big Pete creates the infusions, his son Pete Jr. handles the baking, and the company creates a line of 14 different cookies, including sugar-free, diabetic-friendly versions. The large cookies have a dose of 80 milligrams of THC, perfect for splitting into halves or quarters, with mini-treats in packs of six that are each dosed at 20mg. The key to consistency involves making sure each cookie uses the same amount of cannabutter and that every batch is always 24 cookies. As Pete Jr. pours his ingredients into a large standing mixer, he remarks, “When we started baking, we had no mixers, just a wooden spoon!”
The Cruz’n Combo Cookie is something the Petes created to “represent where we’re from,” having come up with the recipe idea while on the way to a Giants game. Mixing chocolate, oats and peanut butter together was “a little extreme,” Pete Jr. says, “just like Santa Cruz!” A mash-up of all of their most popular flavors, the Cruz’n Combo couldn’t be simpler to make, so try it even if you only have a wooden spoon in your baking arsenal.
Big Pete’s has also embarked on a new mission, tackling the “take and bake” concept and creating frozen cookie dough so patients can enjoy the smell of freshly baked cookies at home. “We have fun every day,” Big Pete says, “and we wanted a way for people to have that fun at home too!”
Big Pete’s Cruz’n Combo Cookie
-1 cup cannabutter
-1 cup white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar (packed)
-¾ cup peanut butter
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1 cup rolled oats, ground in food processor or blender
-½ rolled oats, left whole
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Blend the cannabutter, sugars and peanut butter together until light and fluffy. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla and blend until creamy. Add the flour slowly, plus the oats, baking soda and baking powder and blend until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips until combined well.
Scoop out 24 cookies using an ice cream scoop. Roll into balls and flatten slightly. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 6 minutes until slightly cracked on top.