I've made baked beans before, but not since giving up cane sugar. I like my baked beans sweet and thought it would be easy to find a recipe that just used maple syrup, but everything also called for molasses!
I finally narrowed my search down to two recipes, the titled one and this one from Canadian Living. I liked elements of both recipes, so I sort of combined the parts I liked to make mine. Instead of molasses I used Manuka honey...I should have a post all about my love for Manuka honey...another day, I guess. Anyways, I used Manuka because it has a stronger, more...caramel-y taste to it than other honeys; I thought it would do a better job standing in for the molasses.
I hate using store bought canned goods, which is why I replaced the canned tomato with just a tomato...I am also not a big fan of very tomato-y things, so the tomato taste in these baked beans is minimal. I used ghee instead of oil and waited until the end to add any salt. I read that if you add salt too early, it can toughen the beans...I wasn't sure at which stage this would happen, so I just decided to wait until the end.
I tasted the beans as they baked, adding more maple syrup and honey as I went, which is why my measurements are uncertain...I might have even added more than what I thought, but do it to suit your tastes.
I let them bake at a really low temperature (200F) overnight, while I sleep, and turn up the heat in the morning. I wanted them thick, so once the beans were clear of the possibility of being undercooked, I took the lid off to let the extra liquid evaporate--this probably took about an hour, but I kept a close eye on them to make sure I didn't overdo it (this mistake has been made in the past...made for very dry beans).
Anyways, here's a more concise explanation of the recipe....
Maple Baked Beans
- 4 cups dry navy beans
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 apple, diced
- 8 oz tomato, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1-2 Tbs ghee/oil
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs dry mustard
- 2 tsp chili powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
3-5 Tbs maple syrup (or more)3/4 Cup
- 5 Tbs honey
- 1-1.5 cups of liquid from cooked beans
- 1 tsp or so fine sea salt, to taste
1. Cook navy beans according to package.
2. Heat ghee in a saucepan and add apple, onion, garlic and tomato and cook until beginning to soften then stir in vinegar and spice and continue to cook until soft. Puree mixture.
3. Poor puree into pot with beans and add liquid from cooked beans; stir in honey and maple syrup.
4. Bake with lid until liquid is absorbed and beans are tender (
This recipe was dad approved! He actually liked something I made, hoorah! Though they don't taste like regular baked beans, they were delicious all the same.
After making these baked beans, I came across the Food Network's recipe for Maple Baked Beans. Minus the bacon, I would really like to try it sometime! But 2 cups of maple syrup...yikes, it's so expensive, it might be awhile before I am ready to let go of that much of my precious sweetener...
I also looked at this baked bean recipe and thought about making it, but decided it wasn't really what I was craving at the time...someday!
Here's a picture of one of my dogs (Tilly) after being denied access to a can of nuts by the foil seal
Updated: 19 April 2011—I made these again last night and added more certainty to the ingredient amounts and instructions. They turned out even better this time.