Let's Talk Baked Beans

IMG_0919 I'll admit, my experience cooking beans (of any type) is fairly low. I love baked beans and decided to try my hand at making my own. Here's the recipe I used:

  • 3 cups navy beans, soaked & simmered until tender
  • 1.5 cups ketchup (I used organic in order to avoid HFCS)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth (homemade)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 heaping cup of brown sugar (I used palm sugar)

Put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 10 hours.

Now, the results are pretty tasty. But I have a few things I'd like to fix the next time around. The first thing is that the beans aren't as sweet as I had expected them to be. Their flavor also doesn't "pop" in that way I associate with really bold beans -- I'm not sure if the flavor I'm missing is some variety of smoky or if it's just not very tomato-y. Also, the beans seem very mushy -- should I have pre-cooked them for less time before putting them in the crock pot?

If you have experience with baked beans, please post here. I would love to hear your thoughts.