PR-savvy hemp growers have banded together like Haight St. musicians in a concerted marketing blitz. Hemp milk, hemp oil, and hemp seeds all infiltrated our office over the last week or so and, confronted with a cornucopia of hemp products, we wondered, What's the best way to test all this stuff? As is often the case, the best answer was also the most obvious: hemp brownies.
Our ambitions were, ahem, high. Could we disguise the overly grassy tastes that the seeds and oil were leaving on our breath, and still maintain the benefits that the hemp promised to provide? And being the traditionalists that we are, it only seemed fitting to use the time-honored recipe for herbal brownies, which is to say, using brownie mix (though one of our editors proudly claims that his mom always made her herbal brownies "the old fashioned way"). But would it work? Our mix called for 1/3 cup each of water and vegetable oil, as well as the addition of an egg. Hemp oil and hemp milk made perfect substitutions for the water and vegetable oil because (as you can see in the image) the glowing green oil, yellow yolk, and dark, creamy, chocolate hemp milk mixed together in such a way as to give us a good indication of the psychedelia we were sure to experience. But just to be sure, we stirred in 1/4 cup of hemp nut seeds.
35-38 minutes later (not including cooling) we were in business, man. Ian fired up some Phish on the kitchen's iPod, we dimmed the lights, and then just, you know, chilled. We were ready for each bite of fudgy, hempy brownie to wash over us. We were ready to expand our palate and our minds. Sadly, the reality of the situation deviated a bit from what we had envisioned. "Feeling anything?" "No, but at least that gross hemp taste is gone." "Have another one, maybe something will happen." "Wait, I think I feel it. No, nevermind. That's just the omega-3 buzz." We'd love to report that our memories got a little fuzzy, we gained a craving for Funyons, and our notes drifted into scribbles of unicorns. But sadly, all we gleaned from this experience is that the magical chemical formula that goes by the street name "Duncan Hines" has a virtually indestructible flavor profile. Even when you make it with awful hemp oil and terrible hemp milk, a boxed brownie tastes like a boxed brownie.