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Hattie Melvins Way With Bean Cookies and Bars
January 04, 2002

By Lynne Bigwood
Northarvest Home Economist

After the feature article in the last magazine about Hattie Melvins Way with dry bean promotion and work, it seemed like a good idea to ask her to share the recipes for the bean cookies she serves.

Hattie, of Buffalo, N.D., started baking the pinto bean cookies in 1990 when they opened their dry bean receiving station. The original recipe called for cloves and cinnamon. She altered the recipe to fit her familys taste and left out the cloves. The golden raisins are softer and people who dont like raisins will eat them. Maybe they are not as distinctive and with the chunky applesauce, it all fits nicely. Hattie found the chocolate chip navy bean cookie recipe three or four years ago. She kept looking and trying recipes until she found a more traditional chocolate chip recipe made with bean puree. She feels good about making these cookies because the beans cut down on the fat content.

The brownie recipe is not quite as sweet as the usual brownie. It came from Linda Butts who works in Governor Hoevens office. It does seem appropriate to make chocolate brownies with black beans.

Hattie says that it is fun to be able to make desserts with beans. Lynnes notes on cookie making/baking: Use the instructions in the navy bean cookie recipe to make the bean puree for each recipe; use only enough bean liquid to get the machine to blend the beans. If the bean puree is rolling around the bowl in a ball, add bean liquid by the tablespoon to make a very thick, smooth paste or puree. Either a blender or food processor will work.

Dry ingredients for baked products may be combined in a small or medium sized bowl and mixed with a whip instead of sifting. Flour for a cookie recipe should be measured very carefully; stir the flour, then dip and level. Shaking the cup to level the measure will pack more flour in the measuring cup and result in a dry cookie. Dry ingredients should be combined before they are added to the wet ingredients because a better distribution of the baking powder, soda, salt and spices will result. Cookie dough is so thick that if the dry ingredients are not stirred together by some method, one of those minor ingredients could end up in one part rather than distributed throughout.

Cookies are normally better quality if the butter and sugar are creamed  beaten until the butter melts the sugar and the sugar crystals are dissolved. My familys favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe directs the cook to put the sugars into the mixing bowl and mix briefly. Add the butter in small gobbets, mixing on low speed and then at high. Beat the mixture until its pale, light and very fluffy. The mixing time will be three to five minutes; we think the result with a chewy interior, crunchy edges and well-blended flavor is worth the two or three extra minutes required. The vanilla is added and then the eggs, beating on low speed, then high for a second or two. The eggs and fat/sugar mixture should not separate or curdle if the mixture is not overbeaten at that point. Stir in the chips last to avoid breaking them.

Canned beans may be substituted for home-cooked beans. The canned beans contain more salt than home-cooked; any other salt in the recipe should be omitted.

Here are the recipes:

  • Pinto Bean Applesauce Raisin Cookies
  • Navy Bean Oatmail Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Black Bean Brownies


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