1/2cup(118ml)maple syrup, *plus see below for additional maple syrup to be added near the end of baking
1/4cup(59ml)Fancy molasses, *see Note 1 below
1teaspoon(1teaspoon)dry mustard powder, or 1 Tablespoon yellow prepared mustard
2cups(473ml)hot water, plus more as needed while baking
To be added near the end of cooking:
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The night before baking: In a large bowl, add 6 cups of cold water and 2 cups of dried navy beans. Allow to soak overnight, uncovered.
Day of baking: Drain beans and place into a large pot. Add 6 cups of fresh water to the pot. (Water should be about 2-inches above the beans. You can add a bit more, if needed). Do not salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low or whatever level allows for a gentle simmer.
Simmer the beans until just tender, about 40-55 minutes. *Be sure to taste test beans for tenderness. I usually start at about 40 minutes and then regularly, after that. You want to simmer the beans until they are tender, but no longer.
Drain beans and run the drained beans under cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the beans to a casserole dish with a lid (2 1/2 quart size approx. for base 1X recipe) or a Dutch oven.
Preheat oven to 325F. (regular bake/not fan-assisted), with rack in the centre of the oven.
Scatter the onion and bacon overtop of the beans in the casserole. In a measuring cup, stir together the 1/2 cup maple syrup, molasses, mustard powder and salt. Pour over the beans. Add the 2 cups of hot water and stir gently to combine.
Cover the pot and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 4 hours covered, checking every hour for the first 3 hours, then every 30 minutes for the last hour of cooking, to be sure there is sufficient liquid in the pot. When checking, very gently stir the mixture so you can gauge the liquid level. You want the liquid in the pot to just cover the beans, so you should see some "puddles" on the top of the beans. If you don't and the mixture seems dry, add some hot water until you get the liquid to that level. It's not unusual to add 1/2 cup of water a couple of times during the baking time.
You're always better to err on the more liquid side, than to allow the beans to dry out, which causes them to compress and get mushy. If you find you have a lot of liquid at the end, you can simply extend the uncovered baking time slightly to allow it to cook off.
After 4 hours of baking, remove from the oven. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup and gently stir in. Return to the oven and bake, UNCOVERED, for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and saucy. The beans will thicken a bit further as they rest after coming out of the oven.
Let stand, uncovered for 5 minutes or covered for 10-15 minutes before serving. If making ahead, let cool until they stop steaming, then cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat covered in a 350F oven until warmed through. If they thicken a bit, gently stir in a bit of water to loosen. (Don't add water until they start to warm though, as they will thin a bit naturally as they reheat).
Store left-over baked beans in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also freeze baked beans after they have been cooked.
Fancy molasses is recommended for best flavour. If you only have Cooking molasses, you can use it, but as it is a stronger flavour, use a bit less. Blackstrap molasses isn't recommended as the flavour is too intense and will over-power the maple flavour.
I've included lots of tips on making baked beans above this recipe card, so be sure to scroll up and have a read, so you can be sure your baked beans are perfect!