Candy Beans

Candy Beans are very possibly the least healthy way to eat beans ever, and a favorite way to eat them in our house. Our son has a little dance he does when he finds out they are for supper, and if I ask what bean dish anyone wants, this tops the bill.

What follows is how I make them in my Instant Pot

, which I purchased many many years ago because it was advertised on the back of a bag of beans. It makes making beans faster and easier. These beans can be cooked on the range, in the oven, or in a slow cooker as well. They can even be cooked next to a campfire.


1 pound of white beans of your choice. Navy, Pinto, Lima— I have tried them all. The Instant Pot is supposed to allow you to skip soaking, but that’s up to you. They don’t come out right for me without soaking, unless I add a lot of time to them. I would soak with any other type of cooking. The photos show unsoaked beans.

That’s homemade sour cream on the right and brown sugar in the middle. The Teriyaki container to the left of the sugar is molasses. The other day our son opened a container and was shocked to find what was in it was what it was labelled.

1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter. Oh, it gets worse. You want it melted so it mixes in well with the beans. If you are doing this in the oven, you can just stir it in. In the Instant Pot, I merely set it to sauté as I’m prepping everything else.

1 Tablespoon powdered dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt (I did use salted butter as well)

1 chopped onion (something healthy!)

1/4 pound chopped bacon Honestly, I have completely forgotten to put the bacon in occasionally, and have heard no complaints.

Now for the much less healthy stuff. Yes, worse than the above.

¼ cup molasses

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sour cream I have on occasion replaced this with yogurt to make this marginally healthier. It came out fine.

Mix these in. Now, you need to add water, but you don’t want the result too soupy. If you have presoaked beans, barely to cover in the Instant Pot ought to be enough. In the oven, crock or range, just keep adding water until the beans are ready.

I set the beans to the ‘bean’ button (or crock on low, or in a 325 oven) for 40 minutes, (or crock for 10 hours, oven for 6 hours) and let it naturally release pressure. You want the beans to mush with the back of a spoon.


That’s it. Serve with steamed or pressure cooked brown bread and you have a good, tasty, filling meal. That’s not a bit healthy. But still full of fiber!

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Cooking new things: Italian Buttercream Meringue


So, I am on a quest to cook through all my clipped recipes. So, this is one of the first I picked up, because I had the egg whites on hand. While making the meringue I noticed that it is actually an Italian Buttercream. You can tell by looking at the recipe that that may have been a little hard to tell, though. I don’t know what made me chose this particular one to try out, or why I bothered to write it out, when I have it in multiple books- it must have come with a glowing recommendation from someone. Who? I have no clue. If you know, please let me know!


I was in a rush, so I did not follow it too well. I used 11 egg whites, because that’s what I had on hand. I whisked to 160 on an instant read thermometer

Taylor Precision Products Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer (Kitchen)

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,because that’s what eggs need to cook to. If I was working with raw egg whites, I am paranoid enough to use either powdered egg whites

  or bean juice.


This is the sugar and the egg whites in my pan, starting up on medium heat, before whisking. I used a decent 4 qt All Clad pan 

for this, because it’s perfect for finicky things like this. I did not let the egg whites come to room temperature, which is supposed to raise the volume, but I wasn’t planning far enough ahead for that.


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caramelized sugar


While making the Italian Meringue Buttercream, I was also trying out a … I guess it’s a technique for making granulated caramelized sugar. This was forwarded to me by a friend who knows we like to bake and brew, and it looked really intriguing.



The first thing I did was say too much sugar for a test! So I only used 6 cups. I probably should have used a lot less, but I was ok with that. I also lowered the temp by 25 degrees, because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be as careful with it as the author wanted me to be. The color changes were pretty subtle, as you can see.


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I didn’t get any liquid in the edges, but I got little balls of molten sugar rolling around, and I will not mention what they looked like. I removed them and gave them to The Boy, who was ok with eating them.
The color took forever to get from a white to an ivory, then to a very very very pale beige. I don’t think the temperature reduction of 25 degrees was responsible for that. It took over 4 hours, all totaled, and the result, while good, wasn’t worth to me the babysitting required to make sure it didn’t turn into a lump. I could see how if I were a professional baker and I needed something to push my products over the edge, this may be worth it, but even then, the taste is so subtle, I doubt it. Anything that’s going to be transformed again, like through baking or brewing, I may as well make syrup. It’s easier and the taste is stronger.


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So I will not be attempting this again. Although, we have 2 quarts of it, so who knows if I will be addicted to it in the future. That said, it’s on Amazon for over $2.50 an ounce, so it’s not worth buying if you really want it.

Caramel Flavored Sugar

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