Gluten-Free Miso Chocolate Brownies (GF, DF option)


I read in a Wall Street Journal article (yes the WSJ of all places!) about miso making an appearance in desserts. Growing up in an Asian household, I had known miso as a Japanese flavoring, used as a sauce for fish (it’s DELICIOUS with Chilean sea bass) or as a base for soup, but had never thought of it outside of those parameters. But reading this article, it made sense! Miso paste has a thick consistency that would add a thick buttery texture to a dessert, and the flavor, although used mainly as a salty condiment, does have a hint of sweetness to it. I could see how it would make an awesome complement to chocolate, similar to sea salt + caramel.

So I decided to try out one of the recipes that the WSJ article recommended, with a few amendments of my own, including, of course, making it gluten-free! Usually turning a regular gluten-filled recipe into gluten-free changes the consistency and you can tell there’s something a little different about it. But I didn’t tell my friends this brownie was gluten-free until after they had tasted their first bites, and when I did, their jaws dropped! Maybe it’s because there isn’t a ton of flour in this recipe, or maybe it’s because the miso makes up for what the gluten-free flour lacks in consistency, but either way, the miso really adds an amazing richness to the flavor and especially the consistency!

Jennifer’s amended recipe for:

Chocolate Miso Brownies

Total Time: 1 hour Makes: one 8-by-8-inch pan

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking pan (replace with Earth Balance buttery spread for dairy-free)

7 ounces dark (around 64%) chocolate

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon shiro miso

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)

5 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour (we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)

4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 4 teaspoons sweetened cocoa powder (i.e. hot cocoa powder)

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. [Use the bottom of your baking pan to trace out the same shape in parchment paper.] Cut out a piece of parchment paper that is just slightly larger than your baking pan. Lightly grease the pan with butter and place the parchment paper inside. Press the parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

2. Set a large metal bowl over a pot to create a double boiler. Add enough water to pot to reach just below bottom of bowl. Bring water in pot to a steady simmer, then turn down to medium heat to maintain the simmer. Add the chocolate, butter and miso to the bowl and melt, stirring frequently. The miso will melt more slowly than the chocolate and butter. When it gets towards the end, you will need to use the back of a wooden spoon to spread out the clumps of miso and really mix it in. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.

3. While your chocolate mixture is melting, whisk together sugar, flour and cocoa power in a medium bowl.

4. Allow the melted chocolate mixture to cool for 5 minutes (this makes sure the eggs don’t cook when you add them), then gradually whisk dry ingredients into the mixture. Whisk in vanilla and eggs one at a time.

5. Mix the batter well. Then pour into the pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

6. Lift the baked brownie out of the pan by pulling the parchment paper up. Cool on a cooling rack, then cut and serve!

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  1. What could I substitute for the powdered sugar as I am staying away from sugar for diabetic issues?

    1. Hi Jill,
      It’s hard to know which sugar substitutes would preserve the consistency of the brownies without testing out each one. However, check out Lea’s post on sugars and sugar substitutes, which provides some more general information on various options out there. Hope this helps!