Recipes for … culinary enthusiasts

A photo showing two brownies on a piece of parchment next to mint leaves.
April 20 provides the perfect opportunity to add an extra special ingredient to your favorite baked goods — we mean love, of course. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

April is a month for mellow celebrations. Though the anxiety of finals looms, we’ve been treating ourselves to time with family and friends, various holiday traditions and decadent food from Easter to Coachella.

That celebration continues today, April 20, a day with traditions and treats of its own. On no other day is the need for munchies or the potential of edibility made more abundant. To ensure you’re equipped to celebrate, here’s a few flavorful and dynamic recipes to serve as a canvas for any secret ingredients you may have lying around.

Infused Butter or Oil

This is an optional step, but perhaps the most important for elevating the holiday’s recipes. Consider infused butter (or oil, its vegan alternative) to be what cranberries are to Thanksgiving or high fructose corn syrup to Halloween: They’re thrown in everything, as tradition demands.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour (butter)

2-3 hours (oil)

Servings: N/A

16 ounces butter or oil

1 ounce secret ingredient (at most)

Strainer or cheesecloth

Begin by decarboxylating any secret ingredients: Heat for 30-40 mins in a 245 degree oven, then grind or break by hand. Melt butter or simmer oil in a saucepan and add the secret ingredients, then simmer on low for an hour (if using butter) or about 2½ hours (if using oil), mixing frequently. Strain the butter or oil and discard strained solids.

Chocolate Pancakes

What better way to start the day than with sugar and bread? Get a jump on the morning followed by a long and restful nap with this breakfast.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1½ minutes

Servings: 3

½ cup infused butter, melted and divided in half

1½ cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

⅓ cup organic cane sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Whisk together the milk, egg and butter in one bowl, and the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in another. Combine all ingredients and pour in ¼ cup parts onto a buttered pan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes and flip when edges set, then cook through for another 1-2 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and top with syrup to serve. 

Baked Bruschetta

Here’s one for the herbivores out there. Spring is the time to embrace everything green, from California’s fresh vegetables to the grass at which you’ll spend hours blankly staring.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 3

1 thin baguette

1 tablespoon infused oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon garlic

1/8 cup fresh basil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Cut the baguette into ¾ inch slices and brush both sides with olive oil before toasting with a toaster or stove. Mince and combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, bell pepper and infused oil in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the tomato mixture among the toasts and serve.

Marbled Brownies

It wouldn’t be a celebration without a rich, cavity-inducing dessert. Luckily for all you puritans and youths, this one’s comatose-inducing even without secret ingredients.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Servings: 12

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (21-ounce) package brownie mix, batter prepared according to package directions (except substitute cannabis oil or cannabis butter) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set aside a greased 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Prepare and spread half of the package’s brownie batter into the baking dish, then spoon cream cheese mixture and top with the remaining half of the batter. Cut and swirl the mixture to create the marbled texture, then bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool then cut and serve.

Facetiousness aside, stay safe and consider dosage very conservatively if preparing any of these recipes. Take caution and follow the guidance of health authorities if ever uncertain. Celebrating is definitely fun, but getting sick never is — from too much sugar, that is. Happy baking!