When the smell of habichuelas con dulce (or sweet beans) comes drifting from the kitchen, you know it's spring. It might be hard to imagine beans as a key component of a dessert, but this Dominican dish doesn't last long in our household because of its subtle yet sweet flavor and thick texture, perfectly topped with milk cookies or animal crackers. Dominican roots — Taino, African, and Spanish — mix together for a popular, delicious Easter treat.
4 cups of soft-boiled red kidney beans
6 cups of water for boiling the beans
2 cups of coconut milk
3 cups of evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 pound of cubed-cut sweet potatoes
1/2 cups of raisins
Animal cookies to garnish
1. Beans and the water, in which they were boiled, are put in a blender and pureed. Get rid of skins and other solids by straining the beans. Pour the coconut milk, beans, evaporated milk, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, and cloves into a pot and cook on low heat. Stir often, until potatoes cook through.
2. Add raisins and continue to simmer and stir for another 10 minutes. Remove cloves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cream will get thick as it chills. Before serving, chill and garnish with animal crackers.
3. Eat it up.