Bourbon Baked Beans


Bourbon Baked Beans

Cold weather is fast approaching for us Northerners and I got me a hankering for homemade baked beans!

Maker's Mark

I love the sweet smell of maple and molasses wafting through the house, like a slow fire burning in the hearth.

The caramelizing of the beans, coupled with smooth straight Kentucky bourbon, gives this recipe a depth of flavour unmatched by any other.

The slow-cook produces a dish that’s deep in flavour, rich in colour, with the consistency of chocolate, and has a remarkable finish on the palate.

And there’s no meat, it’s completely vegan. It calls for a little bit of prep time, and a whole lot of wait time. Soak the beans, pour in a crock pot, add the liquid, stir, and let the magic happen.



Serves 8 bountiful bowls.

What you’ll need: medium size crock pot / mixing bowl / large pot for soaking in water


1 & 1/2 pounds northern beans (3/4 bag)

1 & 1/2 cups water

1 & 1/4 cups maple syrup

3/4 cup bourbon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup dijon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fancy molasses

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

The beans need to soak for 12 hours and cook for 18, and there’s no way to rush this process, so planning and patience are your best friends.

Place beans in a large pot. Fill with cold water and soak for 12 hours.

Rinse and drain the beans in a colander and discard any bits of skin that may have separated. Pour the drained beans into the crock pot.

Whisk the ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour the liquid mixture over the beans. The liquid should rise above the beans, if not add water. Set the temperature on low and allow to cook for 18 hours.

Here’s where the planning comes in, so work your way backwards from when you want to serve them. Let’s say they’re for Sunday night’s dinner.

Start Saturday morning by soaking them for the day. Just before bedtime prepare the liquid mixture and set them to cook on low overnight.

In the morning, check to see if they have enough liquid covering the beans, if not add 1/2 cup of water. Now this is where the patience comes in due to the extraordinary wafting; but by 4:00 you’ll have created a chef d’oeuvre.

baked beans bowl it copy

I didn’t make them for a specific meal so I let the beans soak overnight till noon the next day. That evening before bedtime, I added 1/2 cup of water, stirred the pot, and said good night. The next morning they were just gorgeous!

If you make a double batch, they freeze well in airtight containers.

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If you’d like to know more about bourbon and how it’s made, visit the



Dog Cookies Natural Easy-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal


looking in the cookie jar with copy

I have an active border collie who luvs his dog cookies more than anything in his world. I’ve been feeding him Milkbone cookies at a rate of 3, and sometimes 4, per day. One day, amid the controversy of food labelling, it occurred to me to read the ingredients on the box.

What I uncovered, was a ruse. I unraveled a paragraph of chemical cocktails, fused into the shape of a bone, disguised as dog cookies (one big backhand to the head, sorry little guy).

cookies in jar it copyI needed a recipe that’s easy enough to make once a week, with all the goodness of natural ingredients. I didn’t want any dairy, and I didn’t want store-bought because frankly, I have trust issues, and anything gourmet organic for dogs is priced out of my league.

I’m pretty good in the kitchen and so I came up with this simple recipe. Dog park taste-testing gave it a 5 paws up, it doesn’t get better than this.

This recipe makes enough dough for a large batch of cookies, approximately 30 if you cut them large.

The fancy ingredients are not required, just use your old reliable if it suits you.

What You’ll Need : 2 large baking sheets / 1 extra large mixing bowl / 1 medium mixing bowl / 1 roll parchment paper / 1 good set of hands or food processor


cookies piled up it copy

Wet Ingredients Dog Cookies

Dry Ingredients

4 cups organic flour

2 cups organic rolled oats

3/4 tsp organic turmeric

1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients

1/2 to 1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp raw honey

1  cup cold water, sometimes a bit more

In an extra large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs, honey, coconut oil, and peanut butter, and add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Use either your hands, a pastry blender, a combo of both, or a food processor to get a good consistency.

Add 1 cup of the water, and combine well with your hands or food processor.

If dough isn’t forming add a bit of water, like 1/8th of a cup and knead lightly until it forms a ball.

Set the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and place  bottom rack one up from the bottom, and the other, two rows above it.

Prepare two large cookie sheets with a layer of parchment paper to avoid any sticking. Spread out a three foot long sheet of parchment paper on your countertop to roll out the dough. I reuse this piece repeatedly, as well as the paper on the cookie sheets.

Lay the ball on the centre of your paper and sprinkle with some floor. Use a floured rolling pin, or wine bottle and roll the dough out, moving from centre outwards. You should end up with a large oblong slab that’s about a 1/2 inch thick. If the edges of the slab are breaking apart, fuse them by pushing them in and re-roll the edge.

I use a pizza wheel to cut out the size that I like. Place them tightly on the backing sheets as they don’t rise or spread, and you’ll need the space. They need to bake for approximately 50 minutes. Flip the cookies over over half way through. It’s important to bake them evenly. To compensate for my oven’s ability to burn baked things on the lower rack, I have to rotate the baking sheets every ten minutes. The idea is to bake them long enough to dry them out and achieve that extra hard crunch consistency that’s too hard for human teeth, when dry.

Allow them to cool completely and store in an airtight glass jar. Plastic containers can kill the crunch.