It always makes me laugh that instant ramen is (dis)regarded as college food. It’s the savior for the days when you’re so broke you drink Keystone Light and survive on a 33 cent pack of noodles. You couldn’t possibly eat it because…you like it. But as with so many foods from my childhood, maybe initially born of necessity, they eventually became just the stuff you ate. Take fried bologna (we said “baloney”) sandwiches on a hamburger bun. We probably weren’t always bologna-eating people, but if it’s what you’ve got, take a couple of slices, score ’em in three places and throw ’em in a frying pan.
I’d like to think these peanut butter miso cookies were created the same way.
While I have no evidence to prove it, I imagine peanut butter miso cookies were the accidental invention of a Japanese mom in the 60s who was making peanut butter cookies for an after school snack and ran out of peanut butter. Ever resourceful she looks around the kitchen and says with a wave of her hand, “Eh, just top of it off with some miso. They’ll never know.” Sounds like my grandma. Years later, some enterprising baker recognizing the sweet-salty balance of miso and peanut butter will make something similar for a chefs event in San Francisco and sprinkle them with a bit of salt. Well, wherever the idea came from, it’s a good one.
Adapted from a posting on pattycake.ca, this version is actually gluten-free, relying on cornstarch to bind everything together. Texturally, they’re chewy and moist thanks to the peanut butter and unlike other gluten-free cookies I’ve made, they’re not sugar bombs, with just a touch of honey and brown sugar for sweetness.
- 1 c. natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, your choice)
- 3 T. white (shiro) miso paste
- ¼ c. honey
- ¼ c. packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ t. baking soda
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 4 T. cornstarch
- toasted or black sesame seeds to sprinkle
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
- In a large bowl, cream the peanut butter, miso paste, honey and brown sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed. Add the egg, baking soda, vanilla and cornstarch and beat just until combined.
- Using a small cookie scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, 6 per sheet. The cookies will spread slightly. With the tines of a fork, press a criss-cross into the tops of each cookie. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned. They will be slightly soft in the center. Let cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.