You don't have to smoke it - you can eat it

Leading chef and IoS restaurant critic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with an alternative to the traditional method of consumption
Frank Dobson, Health Secretary, and other Cabinet ministers have criticised the Independent on Sunday's cannabis campaign on the grounds that we are encouraging smoking. But cannabis can be a harmless addition to food - as with these hash brownies, for example.

Hash brownies can be potent, and should be eaten in moderation (initially no more than 1-2 per person), and not offered to unwitting innocents. The flavour imparted by hash to biscuits, cakes and other recipes is a strong one, not to everyone's taste. The inclusion of coffee, rum and quality dark chocolate in this recipe prevents the flavour of hash becoming overpowering. The very black sticky, resinous types of hash have a particularly harsh flavour, and can also cause mild stomach upsets. They'll do the job, but more crumbly varieties, such as Red Leb, are preferable.

Makes approximately 12 brownies

2-4g / 1/8 - 1/16oz hash

(depending on the quality of the product, and the desired effect)

115g / 4oz unsalted butter

1 tablespoon rum

1 tablespoon strong, black coffee

200g / 7oz good dark chocolate

(such as Green and Black's organic)

115g / 4oz caster sugar

55g / 2oz ground almonds

55g / 2oz self-raising flour

55g / 2oz walnut pieces (optional)

2 eggs

55g / 2oz seedless raisins (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 160C / 325F, gas mark 3. Grease, flour and line a 20cm x 25cm / 8in x 10in rectangular cake tin, or similar.

Put the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place over a low heat. As the butter starts to melt, crumble the hash into it as

finely as possible (using a lighter to soften it if necessary).

Then add the chocolate, in small pieces, coffee and rum, and stir gently over a low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture thoroughly blended. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, then the ground almonds, and then fold in the flour. Stir in the walnuts and/or raisins, if used. Spread the mixture into the lined tin, and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35- 40 minutes. They should have a light crust on top, but still be a bit gooey in the middle.

They are delicious, and speedily effective, when eaten warm, but can be kept for up to a week in the fridge.

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