While growing up in Barcelona, Spain, pastry pro and cat lover Moises Alvarez always had a thing for sweets. But it wasn’t until he lived in N.Y.C. for seven years that he discovered a passion for chocolate brownies (his wife, Juli, happened to ask him to make them for her one day).
From Alvarez’s early days as a test kitchen cook with the Food Network when it first launched—to working with esteemed establishments including Bouley, Lespinasse, Le Cirque, and currently at The New York Palace—he combined his experience with European pastry training from culinary schools in Spain, Italy, and France to open up an Etsy shop called minibrownie. This coming month marks the one-year anniversary of the e-commerce site dedicated to delightful brownie offerings.
“I started playing with fun elements and different textures of the American classic—twisting the basic ones a little bit more with unusual flavors and ganache,” Alvarez tells InStyle. “Like everything in pastry, the quality of the ingredients, a minute more or less in baking time, or a few degrees in the oven temperature makes all the difference.”
Among peanut butter and espresso-flavored desserts, customizable fudgy goods are also available—you can send in any image to put on top of the sweet treat. (Hello, Instagram!) A popular design includes a marshmallow brownie aka the Minimallow Photograph with an adorable feline face (above). “It took about two seconds to decide to put a cat on it—we are a pet-crazy society, and knew people would just love the idea,” says Alvarez, who bakes the desserts straight from a kitchen space in the Financial District of Manhattan. The photo is reminiscent of his dearly departed Russian Blue, Boo Boo. “Both have that same intense look on their faces, like they want to say something to you. Most of the photos sent in are actually of cats—and they’re beyond cute!”
Shop the delicious sweets from minibrownie ($5 to $32), made-to-order daily at minibrownienyc.com.