Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's have made some pretty on-the-hippie-spectrum flavors — see flavors: Satisfy My Bowl, Hazed and Confused, Cherry Garcia, and Half Baked — so it's no surprise that they’d be down with a weed-infused ice cream. "Makes sense to me," Cohen said in a recent interview with HuffPost Live. "Combine your pleasures." With the sale of almost 5 million edibles in Colorado last year, according to Time, creating a food-based marijuana product seems like a no-brainer for Ben and Jerry’s. (Or for anyone interested in starting up a food-based marijuana product, really.)
Waiting for Ben & Jerry's to create a ganja ice cream is probably a long shot since Cohen and Greenfield no longer run the company — and even if they did whip up a recipe, it would only be legal in Colorado and Washington. So we spoke to Brian Smith, co-owner of Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based ice-cream shop, for some ideas about making a weed-infused ice cream at home. Smith says they’ve concocted a lot of flavors that involved steeping ingredients like Cap'n Crunch, pretzels, or tea leaves, which is exactly what you would do to make a weed-infused ice cream.
Steeping is not the same as boiling — when you’re boiling, Smith explains, "you’re shortchanging some of the flavor." Instead, you want to steep your weed in milk. "You would do that for about 15 to 20 minutes to get a lot of the flavor off of whatever it is, including pot," Smith says. Then you strain the actual pieces out and add your infused milk to your ice cream base.
Another option, according to The Stoner's Cookbook, is to bake your weed first, but the steeping process will give you a smoother texture and a stronger potency. "You’re going to get a lot of that THC and the oils are going to come off of that. Somebody might not think it was so potent, but I would imagine it could knock you out," Smith says.
“The Munchies,” from Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop
For the Weed/Pretzel Ice Cream:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1½ cups mini salted pretzels
- ¾ cup organic cane sugar
- ½ cup skim milk powder
- 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
For the Munchies Mix-In:
- 1 generous cup Ritz crackers
- 1 generous cup salted mini pretzels
- 1 generous cup salted potato chips
- ½ cup skim milk powder
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces M&M’s chopped
- Make the weed/pretzel ice cream: Prepare an ice bath in your sink or in a large heatproof bowl.
- In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it starts to steam, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pretzels along with your weed. Cover the pan and let the weed/pretzel mix steep for 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the bud/pretzel mix to extract as much milk as possible. Don’t worry if some of the “pulp” pushes through into the ice cream. That’s totally OK. Return the weed/pretzel-infused milk to the saucepan.
- Add the sugar and skim milk powder. Stir with a hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Make sure the skim milk powder is wholly dissolved into the mixture and that no lumps remain (any remaining sugar granules will dissolve over the heat). Stir in the cream.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning, until the mixture reaches 110º, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in ½ cup (120ml) of the hold milk mixture to temper the egg yolks. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the egg-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.
- Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking the mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 165º, 5 to 10 minutes more.
- Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the ice cream base through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely cool.
- Make the munchies mix-in: Preheat the oven to 275º. Butter a 12x18-inch baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, using your hands, break up the crackers, pretzels and potato chips into pieces about a quarter of their original size. The goal here isn’t to pulverize them into dust (though a little dust is OK, as it will help bind everything together later on.) Add the skim milk powder and sugar and toss to combine. Pour the butter over the mixture and work it together with your hands, squeezing it into clumps and breaking it apart, almost like kneading dough.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until the mixture just begins to toast and turn brown. Set aside to cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled base to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Transfer the ice cream to a storage container, folding in the munchies mix-in and M&M’s as you do. Use as much of the mix-ins as you want; you won’t necessarily need the whole batch. Serve immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a more scoop-able ice cream.