DONIPHAN — While the coronavirus pandemic has been hard on many businesses, it has also helped to create new opportunities for entrepreneurs, especially home-based businesses like Tiffany’s Tasty Treats, which is owned and operated by Tiffany Fay of Doniphan.
What makes Tiffany’s Tasty Treats unique is that she specializes in making just one type of cookie — the French macaron.
In February, Fay said her daughter’s best friend, Claire, from Sioux Falls, S.D., came to visit. Claire makes French macaron cookies.
“She taught me how to make them,” Fay said. “I kept practicing. I tried out new flavors. I had my family sample them. I would bring them to neighbors.”
And the response, Fay said, was “positive.”
“Everybody kept telling me to sell them,” Fay said.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, she then had a lot of free time at home.
“My daughter likes to bake as well,” she said. “We were baking a lot and trying out new things.”
Daughter Addie is a sophomore at Doniphan-Trumbull High School. Fay has two other children: Caden, who is a sophomore at UNL, and Tyler, a junior at Grand Island Senior High School. Her husband is Brian Fay.
While Fay has no professional training as a baker, it was something she was always good at.
“I like to bake, but I don’t like the cleanup,” she said with a laugh.
In April, Fay decided to start her business out of her home, and decided to specialize in the treat she’d been working on perfecting.
The French macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, confectionery sugar, almond flour and food coloring. It is a gluten-free sweet treat.
According to Wikipedia, the macaron cookie is “traditionally held to have been introduced in France by the Italian chef of queen Catherine De Medici during the Renaissance. Since the 19th century, a typical Parisian-style macaron is presented with a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two such cookies, akin to a sandwich cookie. The confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference—referred to as the ‘crown’ or ‘foot’ (or ‘pied’)—and a flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to unusual (foie gras, matcha).”
Making macarons is time-consuming, Fay said, but she concentrates on making the perfect product, both taste-wise and visually. It is also expensive; the treat requires good ingredients, precise baking, skilled filling and decorating and many other skills.
As she perfected her technique and honed her baking skills, “I really didn’t know how this would all play out,” Fay said. “It just evolved.”
“In April, I had developed enough favors and got plenty of encouragement from neighbors and family that I decided to try this venture,” Fay said.
And to launch Tiffany’s Tasty Treats, “I put a post out of Facebook.”
She made her own Facebook page, “Tiffany’s Tasty Treats” that put made her product available to the public.
“I really got a huge response,” Fay said.
With her daughter’s help, Fay has also created an Instagram page.
Since the launch of her business, Fay bakes three to four days a week, according to the number of orders she receives. For Mother’s Day, she filled orders for 600 cookies.
“It was a lot of work,” she said. “I never made anything in (that) vast of quantity. My daughter helped me or I would not have been able to do it.”
Several weeks later, for high school graduation parties, she baked orders for 800 cookies.
Because she is baking in her home kitchen, she can only bake one tray of cookies (24) at a time. Each tray takes about 14 minutes. Every two minutes during baking time, she opens the oven door to allow the steam out to better the baking process. Because French macarons are like a “cookie sandwich,” it takes a half-hour to bake two dozen cookies, not including the time to make the tasty middle sandwiched between the two cookies, along with the time applying the sweet mixture to the cookies.
Fay said she has become a multi-tasking specialist that can handle everything required to make these sweet perfections.
It took her 26 hours to make the 800 graduation cookies, an average of about two cookies per minute.
Fay is a trained pharmacist, but now devotes her full-time duties to raising a family and baking cookies.
“My chemistry background comes in handy,” she said about baking.
After graduation, the orders have been coming in steadily, but not at a high enough rate to overwhelm her.
With the kids back in school, Fay now has more time during the day to bake and fill orders, which allows her to watch Addie play volleyball.
When it comes to diversifying her home-based cookie business, for the time being, Fay said she will continue to just to bake French macarons.
“There is not a lot of places to get French macarons and they are very expensive normally,” Fay said. “They are expensive because of how time-consuming they are to make.”
She offers 18 different flavors of French macaron cookies, from a wide variety of chocolate macarons to snickerdoodle to pineapple. For a dozen single-flavor French macarons, Fay charges $10. If customers want to try more than one flavor, orders can include 40 cookies in up to two flavors for $25.
While the customer can order cookies for themselves, Fay said she also specializes in making her cookies for special occasions, such as anniversaries, weddings, family reunions and other events.
Visit Fay’s Tiffany’s Tasty Treats on Facebook and Instagram for more information, or call her at 402-212-5276.