In French kitchens, they call it beurre composé. In American kitchens, butter plus another ingredient–herb, spice, nut–is known as compound butter, our blunt description of churned dairy blended with flavors and textures. And in medical cannabis kitchens, the most common compound butter is naturally cannabutter — a blending of butter and cannabis that infuses the herb’s medicinal essence into everybody favorite emulsion, providing a key ingredient in many edibles.
But why stop there? If you can measure spices, chop nuts, melt chocolate, mince herbs and stir a spatula, compound cannabutters are easy to make, and will add true flair and flavor to you medicated treats.
Restaurants serve sweet, savory, spicy and floral compound butters with bread. Chefs use herbed compound butters to brighten flavors and ease acidity in wine sauces. A favorite steakhouse beefs up flavors with a creamy knob of pistachio-ginger butter on grilled New York strip.
At home, enjoy compound cannabutters on bagels, biscuits, crepes, crackers, toast and tortillas; or atop oatmeal and pancakes. Flavor cannabutter with orange zest, honey and Cointreau and you’ll never miss marmalade.
Depending on the strain of medicine you use, and your blending method, compound cannabutter flavors can range from pleasantly floral to overly herbaceous, with colors from greenish-yellow to darker shades of Gumby. Choose additions accordingly. For instance, saffron vanishes in strong cannabutter. Cinnamon survives. In the meantime, here are a few ideas for compounding, starting with a favorite recipe. You will need to start by making your favorite cannabutter, or finding some at a dispensary.
4 ounces cannabutter
1.5 ounces dark, bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts (optional)
Place room-temperature cannabutter in a bowl and beat with a spatula until light and creamy. Alternatively, cream cannabutter with a hand or stand mixer. Ad cocoa powder, zest, powdered sugar and nuts, if using, and mix until blended.
Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on low at 20-second intervals, stirring until melted and smooth. Let chocolate cool to the touch and then beat chocolate into the cannabutter until smooth. Portion and store as you would any cannabutter. Serve on breads, muffins, waffles, pancakes or crepes.
Variation: For a Mexican Chocolate twist, replace orange zest with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, use almonds instead of hazelnuts.
Ready to get compounded daily? Here’s some additional flavors and textures worth exploring.
Spicy: Cayenne chili powder, peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
Fruity: Purees of mango, strawberry, raspberry or banana
Sweet: Chocolate, honey, molasses
Savory: Roasted garlic, onion, mushrooms
Herbal: Basil, parsley, lavender, rosemary
Exotic: Ginger, lemongrass (fresh, candied, pickled)
Nuts: Pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, fresh or roasted
Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, roasted and salted
Coconut: Sweetened shredded or freshly shaved
Zest: Lemon, orange, grapefruit, fresh or candied
Published in the Summer 2011 edition of High Times Medical Marijuana quarterly magazine