Kate Holowchik didn’t grow up in a household that was particularly open to experimenting with marijuana.
“My dad was a senior chief in the Navy,” she said. “He’s 6-foot-3. I was always afraid to step out of line.”
But as an adult, she said cannabis has become a necessity. Holowchik suffered from high-functioning anxiety and frequent panic attacks, and after being prescribed several different types of medication, she turned to cannabis.
“I had [panic attacks] every day and then it went down to three a year,” she said, attributing the vast improvement to cannabis. “So then I finally started to get into it, and I wanted to apply it [to baking] in the right way.”
The pastry chef, who started working at Lincoln Tavern and Capo in October 2017, began with the basics. She learned how to make cannabis-infused butter and, because she wants to open her own gelato shop in the future, started experimenting with oils in gelato.
In her recipe for cannabis-infused mint chocolate chip gelato, Holowchik explains how to make the treat using kief, hash, or hash oil, as well as using decarbed cannabis, depending on what individuals have access to — though she tends to use oils because “you get a better handle on the potency that way.”
When using fresh, raw cannabis, the decarbing process is what allows users to feel the psychoactive effects of THC. Decarbing cannabis can be achieved by taking raw flowers, grinding them up, and baking them in the oven at no higher than 220 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-45 minutes.
“Some people will argue temperature differences, but I keep it low so that I can hold on to the aromatics like I would if I was cooking with fresh household herbs,” she said.
Holowchik thinks Boston is at least a couple of years away from seeing cannabis-infused dishes in restaurants, and said there’s still a lot of red tape to get through. Until then, though, there’s her cannabis-infused gelato recipe to hold curious bakers over.
Cannabis-Infused Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato
Serves 12 2-ounce scoops
485 grams whole milk
233 grams heavy cream
50 grams milk powder
30 grams corn syrup
100 grams sugar, divided
60 grams fresh mint
1 grams kief, hash, or hash oil decarboxylated, finely ground (for hash) or 5-8 grams decarboxylated cannabis
2 egg yolks, large
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
Mini chocolate chips (1 cup, more if desired)
Green food coloring (optional)
1. Place heavy cream and milk in a saucepan. Warm to a low simmer.
2. Remove from heat. Place mint in the saucepan to steep for 30 minutes.
3. Place cream, milk, and mint mixture into a blender, and blend until mint pieces break apart.
4. Pour cream, milk, and mint mixture through a chinois/fine strainer.
5. Stir in your kief/hash/hash oil as well as the corn syrup until dissolved.
6. In a bowl, mix milk powder, sugar, egg yolks, and salt together.
7. Place the cream, milk, and mint mixture into a pot, and warm to a low simmer. If using decarboxylated cannabis, it can be added at this stage. *Note: The temperature should be no more than 170 degrees, or the eggs will curdle and the effects of the cannabis will be voided.
8. Temper (slowly add) the cream, milk, and mint mixture to the dry/egg ingredients.
9. Return everything to the sauce pan. Using a whisk, mix together until all dry ingredients have dissolved, and the gelato base has slightly thickened.
10. Remove the gelato base from heat, then stir in peppermint extract and, if using, green food coloring.
11. Using a fine sieve, strain off the decarboxylated cannabis if used.
12. Place the gelato base into a Tupperware container, and place in a water/ice bath to cool.
13. Once cooled, spin the gelato in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturers’ instructions based on the machine. Gelato takes a little more time to churn than ice cream because of the lower fat content.
14. Fold in the chocolate chips and place the gelato in a container. Freeze for at less four hours before enjoying.