Mindy Segal is probably the most famous pastry chef in the country; a decorated cookie connoisseur and TV regular with a beloved restaurant in her native Chicago, HotChocolate.
This year Segal will also become the ﬁrst ‘celebrity chef’ to branch into the cannabis industry with her own line of gourmet edibles — melt-in-the-mouth milk or dark chocolate bites with chunks of crunchy peanut brittle or smoked seconds.
PPG caught up with her to ﬁnd out more…
How did this foray into edibles come about?
Medical marijuana became legal in Illinois and I was approached by Cresco Labs (the state’s leading cannabis cultivator and processor) to form a partnership with them. It felt like the right thing to do!
Tell us about the process of creating and refining the recipes...
I am approaching the edibles recipes (because I'm still working on the brand) the same way that I would approach recipes that I create in my kitchen at HotChocolate. The chocolates are developed without the marijuana ﬁrst, and then the team discusses how to infuse the product.
How are the edibles dosed?
They are dosed with oil that is then incorporated into the chocolate.
What kind of an effect will people experience after eating them?
Each type of edible is different and will affect people differently. Ultimately we want the products to be consistent, and that's what we’re working on.
How do you feel about being the first big-name chef to branch into cannabis?
It's some big shoes to ﬁll, but there are a lot of great people already doing impressive things in this industry and I'm proud to be in their company.
You've been quoted as saying you want to be a spokesperson and an advocate for the benefits of cannabis. What are your hopes for the progression of the industry in America?
My hopes are that more people become educated about the health benefits that medical marijuana can provide, and that access to medical marijuana as a treatment for pain and illnesses becomes widespread. In my lifetime I would love to see the stigma that surrounds marijuana dissolve.
The first batch of Mindy’s Edibles are currently available from all 30 of Illinois’ operational dispensaries. Find out more at mindysedibles.com
Don’t live in Illinois? Try this recipe for Segal’s munchies-satiating Brownie Crinkles instead:
Makes approximately 42 cookies
• 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose ﬂour
• ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon sea salt ﬂakes
• ½ cup canola or sunﬂower oil
• 1 ¾ cups cane sugar
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
When making the batter, mix the chocolate into the oil and sugar while still warm. For best results, bake the cookies just until the edges are set and the tops no longer look raw. They dry out and lose their fudgy center if baked too long.
In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a pot, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Keep warm.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla.
In a bowl, whisk together the ﬂour, cocoa, baking powder, and salts. In the bowl of a stand mixer ﬁtted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugar on low speed for 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and mix to combine, approximately 30 seconds.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla, one egg at a time, mixing brieﬂy to incorporate before adding the next, approximately 5 seconds for each egg. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until the dough comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is ﬁrm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Heat the oven to 350°F and line a couple of half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pans with parchment paper.
To make the coating:
Put the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, ensuring there is plenty of room in the bowl to roll the dough in the sugar. Using a ¾-ounce (1 ½-tablespoon) ice cream scoop, portion the dough into 12 mounds and roll into balls. Coat the balls completely and generously with the confectioners’ sugar. (You will not use all of the sugar.) The dough should resemble snowballs.
Evenly space the balls on a prepared sheet pan. Add a generous pinch or two more confectioners’ sugar to the tops. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes. The cookies will form crinkles and will be set in the middle. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography credit: Dan Goldberg © 2015