Friday, 21 September 2012 18:22

Alice B. Toklas Brownies

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Dear Sappho,

What in the world does Alice B. Toklas have to do with marijuana brownies? Do you have the recipe?



Dear Epic,

Alice B Toklas, who was the lifelong companion and partner of Gertrude Stein, was also known as a “pretty good” cook. Alice was in charge of the food, the cooks, the kitchen and the typewriter. After Gertrude’s death in 1946, Alice was asked by Harper’s in 1952 to write a cookbook, Harper’s was really trying to get tidbits of their famous life and friends.

Alice was in her 70’s at the time and with the deadline close at hand, Alice asked her artistic friends to share their recipes with her to complete the book on schedule. Brion Gysin submitted a recipe for Hashish fudge included canibus sativa.

Perhaps Alice did not recognize the ingredient or have time to test the recipe. The book was published on both sides of the Atlantic, however the American edition withheld the hashish fudge recipe. The book quickly became a sensation, Thornton Wilder told Alice the recipe was the publicity stunt of the year.

One wonders if Gertrude didn’t somehow have a hand in this from the other side. In one of her poems Gertrude says “ I smoke a little pipe and who has given it to me? We were we were. They applauded.”

Brion Gysin, an unsung painter from England, introduced Hashish fudge as; “This is the food of Paradise.... it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR.... Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better."

Hashish Brownies

Pulverize in a mortar

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 whole nutmeg

4 average sticks of cinnamon

1 teaspoon coriander

Add a handful each of:

Stone dates

Dried figs

Shelled almonds


Chop these and mix them together. Pulverize ½ to 1 oz of canibus to dust with the spices. Rub and mix over the mixed fruit and nuts, knead them all together. Add a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Roll into a cake and cut into pieces or make into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient. Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties....

Much has been discovered about canibus since 1954, one important factor is that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in canibus must be heated. Newer variations of marijuana brownies can be found on the web and often include infusing pot into the butter that is added in the recipe. This recipe has been affectionately called Alice B. Toklas Brownies, in fact Alice is also given credit for the descriptive vernacular “toke” which skips the candy ingredients and proceeds directly to the canibus. Those wacky creative women!




Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, although it is legalized for medical use in fourteen states. You must have a medical card that allows you to smoke marijuana.

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