Medical marijuana infused alcohol tincture (“Golden Dragon”) – your best go-to cannabis tincture recipe for discreet daytime dosing

A few drops of cannabis tincture in your morning coffee or lunch-time glass of iced tea will provide mild but effective pain relief for hours.  For myself, it’s a good daytime method of controlling my chronic back pain.  I love my chocolate chocolate chip marijuana-infused cookies, but I do try to keep an eye on the amount of butter, sugar and flour I eat each day.  I prefer to use the alcohol-based tincture in the afternoon, and save the cookies for after dinner.

Golden Dragon alcohol-infused cannabis tincture - discreet dosing drop by drop for your coffee, tea, ice cream, mashed potatoes, etc. - and best of all, you can make it at home.
Golden Dragon alcohol-infused cannabis tincture – discreet dosing drop by drop for your coffee, tea, ice cream, mashed potatoes, etc. – and best of all, you can make it at home.

Why is it referred to as “Golden Dragon” tincture?  The Golden Dragon is the stuff of legends.  Once sold in U.S. drug stores before marijuana was made illegal, it is a good solution for mild dosing when you are busy during the day with tasks that require clarity and motivation, because it is easy to titrate, one drop at a time.  It is made with decarboxylated marijuana, which gives the finished product its goldish-greenish color.  Now you can make your own, at home.   

Most afternoons, I put several drops of medical marijuana tincture into an empty gelatin capsule, in effect making my own cannabis pills (zero calories).  You can buy bags of empty high-quality gelatin capsules on Amazon, or in many other places.  But use your imagination – you can put the Golden Dragon cannabis tincture in just about anything.  Mix a few drops into your cream cheese, the next time you have a bagel!  You can also put a drop or two underneath your tongue, for sublingual application, which gives fast calorie-free pain relief without going through the stomach, etc.

Empty gelatin capsules make a perfect homemade "pill" when filled with a few drops of medical marijuana alcohol-infused tincture. Finally, yes, there is a pill.
Empty gelatin capsules make a perfect homemade “pill” when filled with a few drops of medical marijuana alcohol-infused tincture. Finally, yes, there is a pill.

You can buy the glass dropper bottles, along with the tiny funnels that fit the glass dropper bottles, on Amazon, or in many other places.  You will need at least one glass bottle, possibly two, for this recipe, and at least one funnel.  Like the capsules, they are not expensive.

This recipe uses 3.5 – 4.0 grams of medical marijuana.  I don’t recommend using more cannabis more than this, especially in the beginning.  First, it is much safer to work in small batches; just like when you are cooking with wine, grain alcohol is flammable. Second, the finished product lasts a very long time.  Consider that there are up to 10 drops in a single dose, and about 70 drops of alcohol tincture in one teaspoonful. 

Here’s what you will need:

a 6-quart or 8-quart pot

a 12 oz. Mason jar

Everclear 151 proof grain alcohol, available in any liquor store

1/2 tsp. honey

marijuana, 3.5 grams to 4 grams, chopped and decarboxylated

parchment paper

glass measuring cup with pouring spout

tiny funnel

glass bottle with dropper

single cup coffee drip filter, lined with filter paper

meat thermometer

.

First, decarboxylate your medical marijuana.  Please don’t skip this step.

While your marijuana is in the oven, you can turn your attention to heating the water on the stove to the correct temperature.  It should be 170 degrees, not hotter; use a meat thermometer to be sure.

The level of water in the pot should rise up to the same level as the marijuana in the Mason jar (i.e., if the jar is three inches full of marijuana, then the pot should be three inches full of water).  Four grams of chopped and decarboxylated weed will fill a 12-oz. Mason jar about one-third full.  The easiest way to do this is to place the empty Mason jar in the pot, fill the pot with enough water to come up to one-third of the Mason jar, and then remove the empty Mason jar.

Place the pot on the stove.  Turn the heat to the lowest setting – if your stove has a simmer burner, now would be the time to use it.  Leave it for about 30 minutes to come to the correct temperature; check from time to time to be sure it does not go over 170 degrees.

When the water has reached 170 degrees and the marijuana has finished decarboxylating in the oven, you are ready to proceed. 

Carefully pour the decarboxylated cannabis into the Mason jar, making sure not to spill any of the medical marijuana.
Carefully pour the decarboxylated cannabis into the Mason jar, making sure not to spill any of the medical marijuana.

Remove the marijuana from the oven. Working over a plate or piece of foil or waxed paper (in case of spills), carefully fold up the parchment paper or foil into a “tube” and place one end in the Mason jar. Tap on the “tube” until all of the marijuana has fallen into the jar.

Pour in enough Everclear alcohol to cover the marijuana completely, but not more.  There is no advantage to adding more alcohol than you need; actually, the less you use, the more concentrated the effects will be.

Safety notes:  Everclear is highly flammable.  Just as when you cook with wine or brandy, it can catch fire if you are not careful.  Make sure you have the lid to the pot nearby, in case you quickly need to cover a flareup.

Cover the medical marijuana with enough grain alcohol to just cover it, but not more than that. The alcohol tincture will work best if the cannabis is completely saturated with alcohol.
Cover the medical marijuana with enough grain alcohol to just cover it, but not more than that. The alcohol tincture will work best if the cannabis is completely saturated with alcohol.

Carefully place the Mason jar into the water-filled pot; do not cover the jar or the pot.  Allow the water to heat the Mason jar for 20 minutes; set your cell phone timer, not the stove/oven timer.  Do not stir or swirl the contents of the jar, do not adjust the burner’s heat up or down. The idea is that you don’t want to do anything that could cause an accidental spark.  You can (and should) check the temperature of the water at least once during the 20 minutes, but be careful not to actually touch the jar with the meat thermometer.

When 20 minutes have passed, remove the Mason jar from the water bath, placing it on the counter far away from the stove, and THEN turn off the heat (not the other way around).  This avoids an accidental spark.  Once the heat is off, return the jar to the pot and let it cool down, uncovered, still on the same back burner.  This will help evaporate some of the alcohol.  The alcohol has done its job at this point and now, the less alcohol there is, the better.

Alcohol-infused cannabis tincture - the "Green Dragon" - used to be available in drug stores in the US, before it became illegal.
Alcohol-infused cannabis tincture – the “Green Dragon” – used to be available in drug stores in the US, before it became illegal.

Once the Mason jar has cooled and the alcohol has somewhat evaporated, strain the contents:  place the single coffee cup drip filter over a measuring cup; place the measuring cup in a large bowl, just in case of an accidental spill.  Place a paper filter in the coffee cup drip filter, and pour the contents of the Mason jar through the filter, into the measuring cup. 

When it has drained through, use a small spoon to press the filter, making make sure that every drop has been pressed through.  Discard the filter.   Let the contents sit uncovered in the measuring cup for 45 minutes to an hour, so some of the alcohol can evaporate.

Allow the alcohol tincture to drain through the filter. Medical marijuana dosed one drop at a time into your tea or coffee - this is a good daytime solution for chronic pain relief.
Allow the alcohol tincture to drain through the filter. Medical marijuana dosed one drop at a time into your tea or coffee – this is a good daytime solution for chronic pain relief.

Add 1/2 tsp. of honey, stirring until dissolved.  Or, you can experiment:  some recipes use Amaretto or other flavored liqueurs, or peppermint, etc.  If you are going to take the tincture a few drops at a time beneath your tongue, you will need to flavor the tincture with something to improve the bitter flavor.

Easy beginner recipe for cannabis - ready in a couple of hours or so, start to finish. That's a morning well spent. If you have chronic pain, you will appreciate this recipe for medical marijuana.
Easy beginner recipe for cannabis – ready in a couple of hours or so, start to finish. That’s a morning well spent. If you have chronic pain, you will appreciate this recipe for medical marijuana.

Time to get the Golden Dragon into the bottle:  the precious golden-greenish liquid can be poured carefully and slowly into a dropper bottle, using the tiny funnel which fits these little bottles.  Fit the dropper into the bottle and tighten it well, to keep it fresh.  The Golden Dragon can be stored indefinitely in a cool, dark place.

Before you put it away, put a few drops in a cup of tea, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.  You’ve come a long way from smoking pot in that little pipe you bought, back in the beginning.  Good job.

Luscious, elegant White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, the perfect dessert for date night or Valentine’s Day dinners in an updated smaller size

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a no-bake dessert in an updated smaller size
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a no-bake dessert in an updated smaller size

Beautifully light pink in color, chilled through and decorated before serving with a drizzle of dark chocolate, this is a dessert to remember.  And no baking!  (OK, just the crust needs baking.  But you can actually skip the crust if you’re in a hurry.  Read on.)

Back when my daughter was young, I baked at least once a week, cookies, brownies, apple crisp, etc.  Now that it’s just myself and my husband at home, we still enjoy desserts, but we don’t want more than a serving or two – and nobody wants a 9-inch cheesecake lingering in the refrigerator all week, begging to be eaten.  These last few years, I’ve been carefully editing my dessert recipes to reduce each one to a smaller, more manageable size.  My tiny little desserts are designed to be two-to-four servings each (also known as “personal size” in my household).

Make this no-bake cheesecake in whatever type of pan you want:  a pie plate, or a five-inch or seven-inch spring form pan, or even individual Pyrex glass dishes with lids. 

I have chosen to use a five-inch spring form pan, shown here. 

A five-inch springform pan makes the perfect amount of White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
A five-inch springform pan holds the perfect amount of White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

If you choose to make the crust, you can use whatever crust recipe you love most; or you can my tried-and-true favorite chocolate cookie crust recipe below.

There are three steps to this recipe:  (a) the raspberry puree; (b) the crust; and (c) the filling.

Step 1 – making the raspberry puree:

This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.  I like to make it the night before so I’m not on my feet for too long at any one time, always a factor in my recipes:

1 cup of frozen raspberries

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. of lemon juice (start with 1 Tbsp. and taste it before adding more)

Raspberry puree adds the perfect amount of tart-sweetness to the smooth, creamy white chocolate
Raspberry puree adds the perfect amount of tart-sweetness to the smooth, creamy white chocolate

Put the raspberries in a saucepan with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  

Taste and adjust the lemon juice, adding more if needed.  Strain out the seeds and set aside to cool.

There should be about 1/3 cup of raspberry puree.

Step 2 – making the optional chocolate cookie crust:

Skip this step entirely, if you don’t feel like baking.  I happen to love a crunchy chocolate cookie crust, so I make this whenever I have a chance.  Any other type of cookie crust would work, too. 

2/3 cup Nabisco chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 15 cookies

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp. sugar

1/3 tsp. instant espresso powder or ground coffee

a pinch of sea salt

Break up the cookies and place in a food processor; pulse until the consistency is uniformly like coarse sand.

Combine the cookie crumbs with the other ingredients. 

Spray (with baking spray) or butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish and press the cookie crumbs mixture into the bottom and sides of whatever dish(es) you are using; bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  

Chocolate cookie crust adds a distinctive crunchy texture to the smooth, creamy cheesecake filling.
Chocolate cookie crust adds a distinctive crunchy texture to the smooth, creamy cheesecake filling.

Depending on the size of your dish(es), you may not need all of the chocolate cookie crust mixture; it should just cover the bottom of the pan without being too thick. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.  

You can leave the crust out for an hour or two before adding the filling. Take a break – sit down and have lunch!

Step 3 –  White Chocolate Raspberry Filling:

OK, now it’s time to get serious.

6 ounces of white chocolate, chopped

12 ounces (one and one-half packages) of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the white chocolate, stirring often, either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (a “double boiler”); the simmering water should be about an inch deep so it does not actually touch the bottom of the glass bowl.  Microwaves are faster, it’s true, but white chocolate can burn very quickly, so the double boiler method is more dependable.  Have you ever burned your last bit of chocolate in the microwave and had to rush out to buy more?  Or is that just me?

Melt the white chocolate over a pot of simmering water until it is creamy and smooth.
Melt the white chocolate over a pot of simmering water until it is creamy and smooth.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar (slowly/carefully, please, so it doesn’t wind up on your ceiling) and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and beat to incorporate. Add the raspberry puree and beat just until combined.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is lucious, smooth and creamy - and beautiful! You will be proud to serve this elegant dessert.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is luscious, smooth and creamy – and beautiful! You will be proud to serve this elegant dessert.

Pour the white chocolate raspberry mixture onto the crust, or into the individual bowls or containers. 

Refrigerate for an hour uncovered in the refrigerator; then cover with a layer of waxed paper (so it does not stick to the surface), followed by a layer of plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is covered with a layer of waxed paper and then a layer of plastic wrap, ready to be placed in the refrigerator overnight.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is covered with a layer of waxed paper and then a layer of plastic wrap, ready to be placed in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, top with dark chocolate curls made by using a vegetable peeler along the narrow edge of a candy bar, or – and this is my current favorite – drizzle with chocolate ganache. 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a smaller, more updated version of a classic dessert - perfect for Valentine's Day dinner or date night!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a smaller, more updated version of a classic dessert – perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner or date night!

To make chocolate ganache, melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream and stir until smooth, then decorate the plate before you place the slice of cheesecake on it, or drizzle some on top of the slice.  Or both.  Definitely both.


Stress Baking

Ahhh, stress baking. There’s nothing like the aroma of freshly baked coffee cake, warm from the oven, to soothe jangled nerves. When chronic pain gets to be too … well, chronic – then I turn to my kitchen. I open up the cabinets and ask myself, “What shall I make today?” This is blueberry chocolate chip coffee cake with a light layer of streusel topping. Originally, the recipe was for a plain blueberry coffee cake with a thick layer of streusel topping, but I added dark chocolate chips. If you’re going to bake, it should be worth it.

Blueberry chocolate chip coffee cake can take your mind off just about anything.