Traditionally associated with roses and chocolates, Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to make heartfelt homemade gifts for your sweetheart. Go beyond the usual offerings by including rich, gooey hash-infused dulce de leche into your celebrations this year. Truly a decadent delight, dulce de leche literally translates as “milk candy,” and it’s made by either submerging a can of condensed sweetened milk into boiling water, or by mixing milk with sugar and slowly simmering it until it concentrates into a dark syrupy sauce. This is one of my personal favorite recipes to infuse with hash, as the flavors of homemade dulce de leche pair perfectly with the earthy, spicy flavor of unpressed cannabis trichomes — making this dessert much more than the sum of its ingredients, and elevating it into another realm of deliciousness entirely.
Incredibly versatile, dulce de leche can be used as a sauce, such as to top ice cream sundaes or to drizzle over a pan of brownies. Or, it can be transformed into an ingredient to flavor cheesecakes, tarts and cupcakes. Previously, I’ve used hash-infused dulce de leche to create a killer molten caramel cake, or to swirl a thick ribbon into homespun gelato. But for this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something simple for gift-giving.
Taking inspiration from Averie Cooks, this recipe is similar to traditional seven-layer bars sprinkled with coconut and studded with chunks of chocolate. Offering several infusion possibilities, this recipe allows you to add THC either within the dulce de leche (as I did) or alternatively, you could chop up cannabis-infused chocolate to replace the chocolate chips, or use cannabutter for the crust to increase potency. I like to use this recipe for the dulce de leche, but no matter which method you prefer, make sure to add the hash just after the mixture reaches a simmer, and let the long cooking time fully activate the THC goodness.
You'll be feeling the love after eating one of these bars! Make sure to let at least two hours pass after eating the bars to fully feel the effects. Expect to feel contented, cozy, giggly and very sensual. Allow plenty of time for sleep, and don’t mix edibles with alcohol.
Hash-Infused Dulce de Leche “Love Bars”
For the Dulce de Leche
1 quart of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 vanilla bean, cult down the middle and seeds scraped out
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 gram of unpressed Nasha hash*
For the Love Bars
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
* A Note on THC Dosing: I used one gram of Nasha hash with 192 mg of THC. Divided among nine bars, that’s about 21 mg of THC per bar. Your dose will vary based on the potency of your hash.
First, start by making the dulce de leche, which can be completed up to a week before you make the bars.
Mix together the milk and sugar in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vanilla bean and the seeds, and mix. Bring to a simmer and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Add the baking soda and the hash and stir. Reduce the heat to low, and don’t cover the pot. Let the mixture simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Skim the foam off the top of the mixture with a slotted spoon. After one hour, remove the vanilla bean. Continue to cook for another hour, until the mixture has reduced and thickened into a deep brown sauce. Strain the sauce through a fine metal mesh strainer and reserve the finished dulce de leche until you’re ready to make the bars.
Make the love bars
Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF. Make sure the dulce de leche is at room temperature, and you might need to microwave in 30 second increments to get it to be soft and spreadable.
Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil or parchment paper, and grease the liner with melted butter.
Melt the stick of butter in a pan over low heat. Combine the melted butter with the brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until emulsified. Add the flour and salt slowly, a 1/4 cup at a time, and whisk to blend before adding more. Spread the crust mixture into the pan, using a rubber spatula to get it evenly distributed.
Shake the coconut over the crust, then add the white and dark chocolate chips, also distributing evenly over the crust. Carefully pour the dulce de leche over the layers, delicately smoothing it with the rubber spatula to cover the crust.
Bake at 350ºF for 20 to 25 minutes. Check the bars halfway through the baking time and rotate the pan to eliminate hot spots. The dulce de leche should be bubbling and the edges of the bars should look crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least two hours before attempting to slice the bars. Letting the bars set overnight will make them easier to cut and the layers will be more defined. Store in the fridge for up to one week.