The battle of the pot brownies. (

Best pot brownies recipe: Cannabist wins Leafly’s extensive taste test

The pot brownie is one of the quintessential icons of psychoactive drug counterculture.

For whatever reason it was never the THC-infused cookie or cupcake that went on to define the conversation around cannabis edibles. Decades before marijuana legalization was even a realistic glimmer in advocates’ eyes, the pot brownie was something that was agreed upon — a delicious vehicle for weed’s many cannabinoids, most notably THC.

Update: Scroll to the bottom to see the winning pot brownie recipe that won the championship on April 4, 2016.

But anyone who has ever Googled best pot brownies knows that everyone has a recipe they swear by. We at The Cannabist are, of course, mammothly biased about our pot brownie recipes — but you would be too if you’d ever tasted our chef-created recipes for triple-chocolate pot brownies, peppermint pot brownies, cannabis blondies or even these simple-and-scrumptious, from-the-box pot brownies.

Especially that triple-chocolate pot brownie recipe, written by cookbook author Laurie Wolf, who regularly contributes recipes to The Cannabist and other publications. Those are among the most heavenly creations known to ganja-loving humanity.

But whose pot brownies are the best pot brownies?

The folks at Leafly have taken on that grandiose question, fashioning their head-to-head battles in the form of a bracket resembling the NCAA basketball tournament — or as they put it: “where March Madness meets reefer madness and we search low and high to discover the absolute best cannabis brownie recipe ever.”

These triple chocolate brownies can pack an unexpected punch. (Bruce Wolf, The Cannabist)
These triple chocolate brownies can pack an unexpected punch. (Bruce Wolf, The Cannabist)

The clever content, enhanced with glossy, sped-up videos, makes for a fun, hotly produced package. They’re already a few matches into the first round — above you’ll see our triple-chocolate brownie recipe take on High Times’ pot brownie, and we’ll embed a few others throughout the rest of this story. And the overall winner will be crowned on Monday, just as a new NCAA basketball champ is crowned.

We caught up with Leafly managing editor Sam Martin to talk about his staff’s brownie madness — about how they made and tested so many pot brownie recipes without losing their minds and more.

The Cannabist: This pot brownie bracket is so genius and so fun. Who came up with the idea?

Sam Martin: It was a combination of ideas. I wanted some kind of bracketology thing for March Madness. And Brett Konen, our associate editor, had seen a (Mario) Batali (pot brownie) recipe that had been published, and she was saying, ‘Why don’t we do a story on the best pot brownies recipe?’

We combined my desperate need for a bracket with a pot brownie competition and put together this very elaborate, probably too-elaborate, production where we videotaped the production of all of them and put them head to head with the Leafly team tasting and sampling them and giving their feedback.

Cannabist: Tasting and sampling all these pot brownies … that sounds like a lot of fun, but it also sounds like a lot.

Martin: It was a lot. It was all done, of course, in a very responsible way, as we always do here at Leafly and Privateer (Holdings). But it was all done with very willing participants.

Cannabist: Ha, I’m sure they were. What was your schedule like for this?

Martin: The filming was all shot in a day, but the tasting was done over the course of quite a few days. We wanted people to sample it and then go away and experience that single brownie. And we gave each of them a marking rubric for appearance and texture and flavor and taste. They put that together, sent us back the results, we tabulated them and put together the winners for each round.

Cannabist: Fascinating. That’s a lot of work, but it sounds like it was done thoughtfully.

Martin: One of the guiding principals we wanted to test was: Is it better to go with a recipe that is already infused, a recipe that has been created specifically with cannabutter and canna-oil in mind? Or is it better to take your favorite brownie recipe — from Julia Child or Martha Stewart or even my mother’s brownie recipe — and infuse that?

Cannabist: That’s so cool you’re including your own mom’s brownie recipe — infused with weed, of course. And how will the rest of these matches be released, and when will the best pot brownies champ be announced?

Martin: The final four competition will happen over the weekend … And Monday’s the championship game.

Cannabist: What an undertaking, making all those pot brownies.

Martin: We did originally have these grand plans to have 64 different brownies going against each other, but as these things always do, it got pulled down to something actually achievable.

Update: According to Leafly’s extensive testing, “The Absolute Best Cannabis Brownie Ever” belongs to The Cannabist!

Keep up with Leafly’s pot brownie bracket — and the rest of their excellent video content — on Leafly’s YouTube page. And while you’re at it, subscribe to The Cannabist’s YouTube as well.