The perfect brownie is a fudgy, decadent square of rich, chocolatey indulgence. While this brownie recipe is perfectly satisfying on its own, we decided to take it to the next level with a savory, salty twist- a swirl of chunky peanut butter with just a touch of white miso paste.
You may be thinking that miso does not belong anywhere near your dessert, but this is not the case! Adapting sweet dishes with traditionally savory ingredients can drastically enhance the flavors you're looking to highlight due to the contrasting elements. Salt in particular is crucial for elevating all flavors- it just makes everything taste "more" of itself. Miso paste is high in salt content, but it also brings funkiness from the fermentation process. When combined with the peanut butter, what would normally be a standard flavor pairing becomes so much more than the sum of its parts.
The success of this brownie recipe is dependent on the method of preparation- all of the steps work to achieve the proper texture. You first can use our Bench Knife to finely chop the unsweetened chocolate, which helps it melt into the butter faster and avoid burning. Do not use chocolate chips, as these contain additives that prevent them from melting cleanly (that's why they keep their shape even after baking!)
You're going to melt the chocolate with the butter, cocoa, and coffee (or espresso powder and water, either is fine) over a double boiler, which is a gentler way of applying heat. While most recipes in baking have you combine all dry ingredients, we kept the cocoa powder and flour separate in this recipe so the cocoa can "bloom" in the butter. This means the natural cocoa flavor is activated by being added to liquid and finally incorporated into the chocolate and butter ganache. This ganache forms the flavor and textural base of the brownies.
Once the ganache is made and cooled a bit, you're going to add the rest of the ingredients by simply blending them in. We recommend doing all mixing by hand with a rubber spatula, as you want to avoid incorporating air into the batter- this will result in a cake-y brownie which, while still delicious, is not comparable to the ideal fudgy texture. While an electric mixer will beat air into the mixture, mixing by hand ensures you can avoid this.
Now, this next step may sound a bit controversial to seasoned bakers, but hear us out- BEFORE you add the flour, you are going to beat the heck out of the batter. We know, nearly every brownie recipe out there says not to overmix brownie batter, and they're not wrong...if you've already added the flour in. Overmixing with the flour will develop an abundance of gluten, which will trap air and create a lifting effect on the brownies, giving them the semblance of having been leavened and be more cake-like.
However, this won't be the case if you just mix all of the other ingredients. Instead, you'll be beating the sugar and eggs together, which will help create the signature shiny, crackly crust of a good brownie. Once the batter feels thick and can make a ribbon when dripped over itself, you can safely add the flour and fold it in with the rubber spatula, only until it's just barely incorporated.
You can now pour your batter into the prepared 8x8 pan and let it sit while you make the peanut butter miso mixture. This is very simple, just combine the peanut butter, miso, and powdered sugar in a heat-proof bowl and warm it up to loosen it up a bit. You can heat it over the double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second intervals. We placed generous dollops of the peanut butter mixture all over the top of the brownie batter, but you can make them as small or large of swirls as you like.
Brownie baking time can vary based on your oven, so we set a wide range for 40-50 minutes. Set a timer and at the 40-minute mark, keep an eye on them as they bake to the desired doneness. There should be a visible shiny crust on top, and they will have puffed up slightly during baking. If you're using the toothpick test, check-in multiple spots in the tray. The brownies are perfectly done when the toothpick has a few sticky crumbs but is not completely wet with batter or completely dry.
If you have the patience, we recommend letting the brownies cool completely before slicing, as this will let them set and be easier to cut. If you absolutely can't wait and eat them right out of the oven, we won't judge! Just remember to use your Sujihiki Slicer to divide them up. We'll leave the portion sizing up to you. Happy baking!
Peanut Butter-Miso Fudge Brownies
Peanut butter and chocolate are a classic combination to satisfy a sweet and salty craving-- but what if it could be better? The addition of white miso paste brings a welcomed savory depth of flavor and complex aroma to this fudgy favorite. Believe in the brownies!
Recipe by Samara Wald
Forge To Table Knives
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
Servings: 9-16 brownies
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup cocoa powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water or coffee
1-½ teaspoon espresso powder (don’t use if using coffee)
2 each egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
1-½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2-½ cups granulated sugar
1-¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons cup white miso paste
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
(PREPARE BAKING DISH) Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Prepare an 8” x 8” baking dish (or another similar sized baking dish) with parchment paper overlapping the sides and a light coat of non-stick spray.
(MELT GANACHE) Bring a medium saucepot of water to a boil. In a large bowl, place butter, oil, cocoa powder, chopped unsweetened chocolate, espresso powder (if using), and measured boiling water or coffee, and place over the double boiler setup. Use a rubber spatula to stir constantly, mixing to melt the chocolate and bloom cocoa.
(MIX IN EGGS & SUGAR) Remove bowl from double boiler and let cool slightly before stirring in vanilla extract and egg yolks. Mix in whole eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Mix in sugar until well combined. The brownies will become fudgier the more they are mixed, so don’t be afraid! You want a beautiful ribbon when the spoon is lifted.
(MIX IN FLOUR) Sift all-purpose flour into the chocolate mixture and fold in until just barely incorporated. Pour brownie batter into the prepared baking sheet.
(PREPARE PEANUTBUTTER MIX) In a small bowl, combine chunky peanut butter, white miso paste, and powdered sugar. Place over the double boiler and stir until warm and loose. Alternatively, zap in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring after each increment until loose, about 1-½ - 2 minutes.
(BAKE BROWNIES) Dot the peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter. Using a skewer or thin knife, swirl the peanut butter mixture into the batter. Place the whole tray into the oven and bake until set and slightly puffed, 40-50 minutes. A skewer poked into the center should not have any liquid batter on it.
(SLICE & ENJOY) Remove tray from oven and let brownies cool and set for 30 minutes. Use the parchment paper to remove the brownies onto a cutting board, discarding the parchment. Use a Forge To Table 10” Sujihiki Slicer to cut the brownies 3x3 or 4x4 for 9 or 16 slices. Dust with extra powdered sugar, if desired, and enjoy while warm!
Once the brownies are completely cool, wrap individually in plastic wrap and enjoy within a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.
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