When used like salt, soy sauce can provide a complex, umami-rich flavor to baked goods. This isn’t a crazy idea if you’ve made chocolate chip cookies or salted caramel with miso. Both ingredients impart more than just saltiness—it’s a flavor that’s earthy, rich, savory, and sweet all at the same time.
This recipe found its spark from Hetty McKinnon’s soy sauce brownies. In her cookbook To Asia, with Love, McKinnon says the splash of soy sauce provides a “rich caramel glow”. And true enough, these brownies have that wisp of salted caramel beneath the fudgy chocolate. Brown butter adds more butterscotch notes. Friends and family will love these addictive brownies—and they won’t believe the secret ingredient.
- 1 block (225g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup brown butter, warm
- 1 tsp coffee granules
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan and grease with oil.
Make brown butter: Add 1 block of unsalted butter in a pan over medium low heat. Cook butter, stirring occasionally, until it melts and starts to foam. Continue cooking until milk solids start to brown, butter smells toasty, and there is little to no sizzling, about 5 minutes. Pour brown butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool for a bit.
Sift all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a bowl.
In another bowl, add chocolate chips. Pour brown butter over the chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula until chocolates are melted and mixture is smooth. Add coffee granules and stir until dissolved.
Combine eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and soy sauce in a third bowl.
Add the brown butter-chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet batter until just incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix!
Pour the brownie batter into the greased baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let brownies cool in the pan for 1 hour to overnight. Slice evenly into squares and serve.
Using a light-colored pan helps with browning butter. The milk solids are easier to monitor and prevent from burning.
Extra brown butter can be used to grease your baking pan.