The first thing I did when I heard the forecast of snow was to put a pot of beans on to soak. Coming into a house redolent with the smoky goodness of beans bubbling away in the oven after spending time outside in the sparkling crisp air is one of the simplest of country pleasures.
Wash and pick over 1 lb. of navy beans. Put into a large pot and pour boiling water over them to cover plus a few extra inches. In the morning drain. Replace the water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, adding more water as needed and stirring once in a while to make sure they don't stick to the pot. Drain. Put into a small roaster or a 13 X 9 casserole. Add 2 C. ketchup, 1 tbsp. dry mustard, 1/2 C. maple syrup, 1/4 C. brown sugar, 1/4 lb. diced bacon and 1 large onion diced. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) adding water as needed, until the beans become soft and start to meld together and they develop that nice dark color (several hours). These beans should be thicker than the ones you buy in the store. They make wonderful sandwiches made up with a layer of the beans and a slice of cheddar cheese on nice homemade bread, grilled. So there you have it, baked beans worthy of a lumber camp cookie!
As with all my recipes, it is a rough guideline. You can use any combination of sugars (brown, molasses, maple syrup or sugar). Sometimes if I have an apple that is beginning to look a little shriveled in the fridge, I'll peel and dice that and add it to the pot. Some Southern recipes use cola for some of the liquids. Add more onions and bacon if you like. Experiment with what you like. Usually, I don't add salt because the bacon is salty enough but you be the judge.
Speaking of bacon, the other day I got a great deal on bacon ends and pieces. Only $2 a pound! Be on the look out for it. We don't eat meat very often, but baked beans, wouldn't be baked beans without it. A little added to a plain vegetable soup or fried up and sprinkled over a potato with some cheese sauce and broccoli makes inexpensive meals when the pantry and checkbook are bare!