When I first started learning how to bake, brownies and cookies were my go-to items. They are easy, usually done in two bowls and delicious. I have probably tweaked and created dozens of brownie recipes throughout my life.  

For this brownie, I added an Earl Grey cream topping. The flavor combination came to me during the chocolate festival at Magnuson Park. I was drinking boba milk tea while sampling chocolate and realized that the flavors complemented each other nicely. The lingering bitterness from the tea bought out a different, sweet note from the chocolate. 

So, if your ideal brownie is fudgy, ooey-gooey, chocolate decadence, then look no further than these boba-inspired brownies. You can make these as is, or include an Earl Grey cream topping for an added layer of flavor. 

The bubble tea breakdown: What to order, a toppings explainer and where to get Seattle’s best boba

Boba-inspired brownies

Time: prep: 15 minutes; cooking: 35 minutes

Yield: 16 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For the Earl Grey cream topping: 

  • 2 cups heavy cream (infused with Earl Grey tea; see directions below) 
  • ½ cup milk  
  • 1 package instant pudding mix (I recommend vanilla or French vanilla flavor) 
  • About 1½ tablespoons of loose leaf Earl Grey tea

For the brownies:

  • 3 sticks butter 
  • 16 ounces (about 2½ cups) baking chocolate (semisweet or dark), divided. (You can use chips or chopped-up baking squares.) 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1½ cups sugar 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 5 eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 

STEPS:

For the Earl Grey cream topping:

There are two ways to infuse your Earl Grey tea to be used in the cream topping: cold-steep or warm. If you have time, you can cold-steep a day or two before you want the brownies. If not, use the warm-steeping method. 

Cold-steeping: 

  1. Place the Earl Grey leaves in a container with heavy cream. Stir, seal and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or until ready to use. 
  2. Strain tea-infused cream through a fine mesh strainer before use. 

Warm-steeping: 

  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, add heavy cream and Earl Grey tea leaves. Bring to a low simmer and stir occasionally with a rubber spatula. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  3. Strain through fine mesh strainer when ready to use.

Then, whip tea-infused cream, milk and instant pudding together. Mixture should come together like loosened whipped cream.

For the brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch brownie dish with parchment paper. 
  2. Melt butter and half of the chocolate (8 ounces) in a microwave-safe bowl. You can also use a double boiler method. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. 
  4. When chocolate and butter are melted, stir to combine. Stir in vegetable oil and instant coffee. 
  5. Incrementally mix in granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. 
  6. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. 
  7. Slowly add flour mixture to chocolate and combine. 
  8. Once combined, add remaining 8 ounces of chocolate (chopped or in chip form). 
  9. Pour the mix into the prepped brownie pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until top is set. 
  10. Let cool before topping with cream topping. If adding cream topping, keep brownies in the pan. 
  11. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes throughout the brownie. Pour and smooth cream topping over brownie base. Place in fridge or freezer to set for at least 1 hour.