Dominican Sweet Beans Dessert
Habichuelas con Dulce is a Dominican Sweet Beans Dessert that we typically have during Easter week. This delicious dessert can be enjoyed hot, cold, or even at room temperature. It’s one of those tasty treats that you look forward to every year. Much like the holidays, Easter brings a host of special foods that are enjoyed in the Spring. I remember watching my grandmother stir a GIANT pot of Habichuelas con Dulce. It was enough to feed a village. The best part was watching her portion out this dessert, and giving it away to family and friends. Funny enough, despite having made enough for a village, we’d still happily accept Habichuelas con Dulce from other family and friends.
Now if you’ve ever been overwhelmed at the thought of making this dessert– no worries, I totally understand. This is a dessert with strong cultural roots and one that many don’t learn how to make because we expect our grandmothers, mothers, and aunts to be around forever! Luckily, this dessert is actually fairly easy to make, but you definitely have to be aware of a few pitfalls. Below are a few of my tips and tricks to help you get the perfect Habichuelas con Dulce each and every single time.
Tip #1: Feel free to soften your beans using a pressure cooker or on the stove. If using a pressure cooker, make sure that the beans are exceptionally soft!
Tip #2: When blending your beans, blend them with the water that they cooked in along with regular or evaporated milk. You can also use a mix of milks just like I do.
Tip #3: You can use regular granulated sugar or sweetened condensed milk to sweeten your beans. Just like the milks, you can also use a mixture of both as well.
Tip #4: When cooking your Habichuelas con Dulce on the stove, be sure to mix constantly and keep a close eye. This dessert has a ton of sugar, which will naturally caramelize as you cook it. Stirring the Habichuelas con Dulce will ensure that the sugar and beans don’t stick and burn at the bottom of the pot.
Tip #5: When cutting your batatas, make sure to do this under running cold water to prevent them from oxidizing and turning color. If you can’t find Caribbean Batatas, Korean Batatas or even Korean Sweet Potatoes will work!
Tip #6: You can definitely add coconut milk to the Habichuelas con Dulce and even coconut cream for an added coconut flavor. I find that about 50% of households make it with coconut milk and the other 50% do not. Both ways taste amazing and I encourage you to give it a try
Tip #7: Always keep extra milk on hand. You can make the Habichuelas con Dulce as thick or as thin as you like it. It’s important to note that you’ll probably need to add either water or milk when warming up your chilled Habichuelas con Dulce.
Make sure to check out my step-by-step video on How to Make Habichuelas con Dulce | Dominican Sweet Beans on my YouTube Channel: Chef Zee Cooks.
- 1 ½ Bags of Red Dominican Beans
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 3 cans of Evaporated Milk (4 ½ cups)
- *sub one can for coconut milk if you like it with coco milk
- 1 can Sweet Condensed Milk
- 2 cups Sugar
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- ½ tbs Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbs Vanilla Extract
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- ½ tbs Cloves
- 2-3 Batatas Cubed
- ¼ Cup Raisins
- *Extra can of evaporated milk or regular milk in case your Habichuelas con Dulce gets too thick while cooking
- Rinse Red Beans and place into pressure cooker with enough water to cover beans. Make sure that you follow the rules for your own pressure cooker. Cook beans until they are nice and soft. I used an Instant Pot and I set my beans to cook for 50mins. If you don't have a pressure cooker or don't wish to use one, feel free to soften beans on the stove. Just note that this may take longer.
- Once beans are nice and soft, add beans along with the water that they cooked in and 1/2 of the regular and place into blender. Blend until beans are nice and smooth. Afterwards, remove beans and strain through a fine mesh and into a large pot. Repeat steps until you have blended all of your beans.
- Once beans are strained, place pot onto stove and turn stove onto medium heat. Now add evaporated milk, sweet condensed milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Milk until well combined.
- Keep a close eye on beans and continue to stir constantly.
- After 10 minutes, add diced batatas. Note: When dicing batatas, be sure to dice batatas under running water so that they don't oxidize. Place batatas into bowl with water and salt to also prevent them from turning brown.
- Once the batatas have been added, stir constantly. You want to prevent the sugar from burning on the bottom of the pot. After about 15 minutes, the beans will begin to simmer and rise. This is a sign that the sugar is beginning to caramelize. Turn flame down to low and continue to stir
- After another 10-15mins, check the tenderness of the batatas with a fork, toothpick, or cake tester. If batatas are soft, then you're batatas have cooked through. Now ass raisins and continue to stir for another 2-5 minutes. If you notice that your Habichuelas con Dulce are thickening too much, feel free to add more milk.
- Once the Habichuelas con Dulce are done, feel free to enjoy hot or cold. Garnish with special milk cookies and enjoy! Buen provecho!
If you can't find Dominican Red Beans, feel free to use regular Red Beans or even Pinto Beans. If you use Pinto Beans, the Habichuela con Dulce may not develop a rich dark brown color as picture above and as seen in my video. You can also use whichever kind of sugar you like -- regular sugar or sweet condensed milk. The choice is up to you. Do keep extra milk on hand as this dish will thicken as it cools. You can add as much milk as you like. If you like this dish cold then you will definitely need to add extra milk.