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Gibson's Brownies
...Guam's Gibson's Shopping Center brownies live on forever!



Gibson’s Shopping Center was a major shopping center for Guam – way back when. Today, it’s been transformed into GPO, and looks much different compared to its predecessor. There was a small bakery stand in the store that sold a delicious frosted cake brownie. This recipe tastes just like those brownies on Guam. Recipe adapted from “Moist Cake Brownies” via Tasteofhome.com.


The frosting sets very fast so you need to spread it out as quickly as possible on the baked, hot brownie base and top immediately with walnuts. Makes enough for one 9 x 13 pan. Measure everything you need to make the frosting then set it all aside until you pull the brownie base out of the oven.


Set 1

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder or 1 teaspoon espresso/coffee extract

Set 2

3 cups powdered sugar

¼ whole milk

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set 3

¼ cup chopped walnuts


Tools: small pot, whisk, rubber spatula, 11 x 17 baking pan or wax paper, plastic wrap, Ziploc freezer bags



Set the pan of baked brownies on a larger baking sheet or on wax paper as the frosting may flow over the edges.

In a small pot on medium-low heat, melt butter and dissolve espresso powder.

Add cocoa powder and stir well to combine. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Quickly whisk together until smooth.

IMMEDIATELY pour the frosting over as much of the surface of the brownies as possible. Smooth and spread real fast. Quickly sprinkle the walnuts over the frosting. Set aside to cool completely. If you overbaked the brownies and feel as though they may be a tad dry, cut and wrap individual servings in plastic wrap. Store in freezer bags. Freeze a few days. Thaw. They will be perfect!



Makes a single quarter sheet pan / 9 x 13 pan, or about 12 pieces.


Set 1

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Set 2

2/3 cups unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned into the measuring cup

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder or 1 teaspoon coffee extract

¼ cup vegetable oil

Set 3

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set 4

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, chopped then measured


Tools:  small pot, small bowl, whisk, rubber spatula, ¼ sheet pan or 9 x 13 baking dish, large glass or stainless-steel bowl, electric beater


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease and flour a ¼ sheet pan. Set aside.

Mix The flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a small pot on medium low, melt the butter.

Using a whisk, stir in the cocoa powder and instant espresso powder/extract with the oil. Mix until smooth, and the cocoa is completely blended.

Pour the mixture into a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Add the sugar and use an electric beater to incorporate. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding the next egg. Add the vanilla extract when you add the last egg.

Sift the bowl of dry ingredients into the cocoa mixture. Beat till just barely combined.

Add the nuts, using a rubber spatula to incorporate.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  

Bake for 30 minutes. If a toothpick inserted in the center comes out wet, bake for 5 more minutes. Repeat the toothpick test. It should come just a little wet. That’s fine. Do not let the edges of the brownie get dark. Make the frosting immediately and pour over hot brownies.

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Effective March 2021, PaulaQ will begin replacing Canola and vegetable/seed oils in recipes with pure lard from Reverence Farm, coconut oil, and avocado oil. 



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© Copyright Paula Quinene. Check out Guam cookbooks and Chamorro cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam, for more Guamanian recipes and Chamorro recipes that are tested, tried and true. Get Macarons Math, Science, and Art, for foolproof macaron recipes and techniques. Enjoy a Guam romance novel in Conquered. Most photos courtesy Paula and Edward Quinene.