Alice B. Toklas, Mother of the Pot Brownie

A Woman Ahead of her Time

Alice B. Toklas, born in San Francisco in 1877, was a publisher, author, and “Mother of the Pot Brownie” – an indelible edible contribution to canna culture. But dig deeper into the grandmother of “hashies,” and you’ll find a fascinating portrait of Gertrude Stein’s lover and collaborator.

Recipe For Controversy

First thing’s first: that recipe. In 1954, Toklas published The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. Part French cuisine, part memoir, Toklas also included recipes from her peers, one of which was a recipe for hashish fudge provided by avant-garde artist Brion Gysin. (Look up Brion Gysin’s cut-up method; a fun activity to do while you feel the effects of his recipe.)

Publishers left the risque recipe out of the US publication; the 50s weren’t ready for Toklas or her pot pal. But eventually, in the early 1960s, a second edition, including the recipe, was published for US consumption, and hippie culture crowned their queen. (1) The recipe even inspired part of a movie starring Peter Sellers called “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!” Side note on that: be sure to Google this movie to see a clip in which a woman uses a stand mixer while wearing a heavily fringed top – James Bond has nothing on this level of danger.

Toklas explained her innocent inclusion of the recipe in an interview on Pacifica Radio in 1963. She said, “I thought it was just a joke of [Gysin’s]…I was shocked to find that America wouldn’t accept it because it was too dangerous.” (2) America lightened up, thanks in part to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who reported that there was no link between violence and cannabis use, nor was it a gateway drug. (3)

Alice B. Toklas’s Recipe for Pot Brownies

It should be noted before diving into this rainy day confection that these are less a brownie than a majoun. A majoun is an ancient sweet resembling fudge but containing no chocolate; many compare a majoun to Turkish delight. 

In the text accompanying the recipe, the snack is dubbed “an entertaining refreshment,” and that “Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extension of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected.” A relatively strong tip of the hat to its effect. Maybe Toklas just thought they were crazy good brownies. Toklas said she was pressed for time and sent the manuscript to her publisher without trying the recipe out. 

Now without further ado:

Hashish Fudge (which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 4 average sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander

About a handful each of:

  • Stoned dates
  • Dried figs
  • Shelled almonds
  • Peanuts


  • Cannabis sativa (the recipe calls for “a bunch”)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Big pat of butter

Grind the first four ingredients in a mortar. Then, chop the fruit and nuts and mix them. Pulverize the cannabis and, along with the spices, dust over the fruit and nut mixture and combine. Dissolve the sugar and butter together and add them to the dry mixture. Roll into a cake and cut into pieces or roll into balls about the size of a walnut.

The recipe reminds us these “…should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.”

Following the recipe, the text explains how to obtain cannabis. This “common weed” is growing globally, and indica is more common in the US, yet “obtaining the cannabis may present certain difficulties….” 

Imagine how blown their 1960s minds would be finding out that you can get weed delivered to your door. And speaking of weed delivery…

Cannabis Delivery in San Jose

No need to wait for that rainy day; we deliver to San Jose and Santa Clara county residents, and same-day delivery is available. Find out more by visiting our delivery page, which contains a menu of edibles, flower, prerolls, and top-rated vapes from STIIIZY, WYLD, Heavy Hitters, and more. Questions? Call (408) 264-7877 to speak with one of our budtenders who will be happy to help you.

Edibles on the Menu

Want to bake without using your kitchen? We’ve got you covered. Purchase a treat from our vast variety of edibles in-store or straight to your door. Eating edibles is baking.

Our menu includes:

  • Candies
  • Capsules
  • Chocolates
  • Drinks
  • Mints
  • Baked goods
  • Snacks

We know no one makes them like the “mother of the pot brownie” made them, but our sampling of edibles are the tastiest treats on the market. Plus, sign up for our VIP Rewards Program, and you’ll get exclusive swag, deep discounts, and benefits only offered to our VIPs.

Behind Every Great Woman is Another Great Woman

Beyond her contribution to the world of cannabis, Toklas contributed significantly to the career of her lover, Gertrude Stein. Toklas devoted herself to Stein and her work the way Stein devoted herself to writing. Toklas managed a salon at their Paris home at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris, where the pair lived for thirty years; literary heavyweights like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wilder, and artists like Picasso and Matisse often attended. 

Additionally, Toklas proofread, edited, typed, and published Stein’s work. Toklas maintained Stein’s literary legacy for twenty years after her death in 1946. (4) Nine years after Stein’s death, Toklas, who was Jewish, converted to Catholicism on the chance that it might be possible to spend eternity with Stein after her death. Toklas died in 1967 and was buried next to her love; the pair are laid to rest in Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris. (5) Roll (or bake) one up for Toklas, who followed her happiness to the end; like Gertrude Stein, herself said, “One must dare to be happy.”

But Does Cannabis Make You Happy?

“Brilliant storms of laughter” and “…ecstatic reveries” promises Gysin’s recipe. Outside of the giggles, does THC affect happiness on a biological level? Scientists think so. Declining neurogenesis, or the formation of new neurons in the brain, is linked to depression. While psychoactive drugs can contribute to this decline, psychedelic drugs may help improve the construction of new neurons. (6) One study found that a small amount of cannabis (about one puff) taken every day “can reverse the age-related decline in neurogenesis that might underlie depression.” (7)

What Kind of Cannabis Should You Choose?

Toklas’s recipe calls for either indica or sativa, but the language around cannabis has changed since then. Moving away from “strains,” chemovars or chemical varieties now categorize cannabis.

Sativa is associated with energy, while indica produces a more zen-like effect, but connoisseurs know the results are much more nuanced, and plants can have different chemical compositions.

Cannabinoid Profiles

  • THC – is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis plants, which is responsible for the “high” or state of the euphoria associated with cannabis use. 
  • CBD – non-impairing or non-euphoric. May reduce pain and nausea, help prevent seizures, and ease migraine symptoms.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) – is used to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) – is similar to THC without the psychoactive effects.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) – is thought to help reduce anxiety and depression.

Speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly budtenders about the cannabinoid profiles that will help you achieve that perfect high.

We Love the Smell of Terpenes in the Morning

Take a trip to our San Jose location to sniff the terpenes for yourself. These naturally occurring compounds in cannabis plants produce different flower scents. Additionally, these fragrant friends contribute to the effects of different strains. For inflammation, Bisabolol may provide relief as it produces the scent of chamomile and tea tree oil. Linalool has floral notes and can leave you happy and relaxed. Terpinolene has antibacterial and antifungal properties and smells of apples, cumin, and conifers. (8)

Whatever your needs, there’s a cannabinoid/terpene combo for you. Let our knowledgeable staff guide you in person or over the phone. Give us a call at (408) 264-7877 or order online. Don’t forget: we deliver!


  1. Eplett L. Go Ask Alice: The History of Toklas’ Legendary Hashish Fudge. Scientific American Blog Network. Published April 20, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  2. Verve recording. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, read by Alice B. Toklas | Pacifica Radio Archives. Published April 16, 1963. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  3. PBS. Marijuana Timeline | Busted – America’s War on Marijuana | FRONTLINE | PBS. Published 2012.
  4. Linzie A. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiographies. University of Iowa Press; 2006. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  5. Green DB. 1967: Gertrude Stein’s Lesbian Lover, Hash Brownie Publicist, Dies in Penury. Haaretz. Published March 7, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  6. Catlow BJ, Jalloh A, Sanchez-Ramos J. Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse. 2016;2:821-831. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-800212-4.00077-7
  7. Wenk G. The Munchies, Marijuana and Happiness | Psychology Today. Published July 28, 2010. Accessed June 29, 2022.
  8. Holland K, Theisen E. Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Plants and Strains. Healthline. Published April 8, 2019.
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