How a Springfield woman’s hobby turned into a busy bakery business

Longtime baker Caitlyn Weiss tried her hand at mastering macarons last year as a pandemic hobby. What she accidentally created is a booming business.

“I thought it was a good way to relax,” Weiss said. “I tried to tackle the macaroons because it’s a good challenge and they went really fast.

Weiss, from Springfield, posted photos of his early hits on his social media for fun. Inquiries on how to place orders quickly followed. Before she knew it, Weiss was running a vibrant macaroon business with sales from her front porch.

This is the unconventional origin story of Caitlyn’s Mad Macs Confections.

But now its sandwich cookies have found their way into more traditional retail spaces.

Custom Cup Coffee at 312 E. Monroe St. began shipping Mad Macs sample packs on Friday.

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Similar cookie samplers can also be found at Scoop du Jour in Chatham, Danenberger Family Vineyards in New Berlin, and Bewitching Botanicals in Auburn.

“We’ve watched it and love it,” said Kendra Boesdorfer, Owner / Operator of Custom Cup Coffee. “They taste fabulous and we wanted to support her.”

Custom Cup Coffee will have Mad Macs cookies in the half-dozen for $ 15 and a dozen for $ 30.

The flavors – which change regularly – have recently taken on a fall theme with selections like pumpkin fluff, apple spice, salted caramel, and chocolate brownie.

Macaroons have an adult reputation. This is not surprising given that sweet meringue-based confectionery was created during the Renaissance for a queen – the French queen consort Catherine de Medici.

But Weiss is not afraid to show his playful side.

Take for example the recent variety Dirty Worms Cookies and Cream with the macaroon cookie sporting a decidedly green shade Oscar the Grouch, topped with chocolate cookie crumbs and a gummy worm.

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Fran Abbott of Scoop du Jour said she was caught off guard by the Mad Macs follow-up.

“We talked about starting slowly,” she said of the initial race at the end of September. “We posted on social media that we would have them on Saturday. She brought them in on Friday and we had sold 400 (cookies) in a few hours.

“I didn’t know there was such a demand. On social media, everyone says, “Oh, I want them. But only three percent actually do what they say.

As previously stated, Mad Macs and social media have been connected from the start.

First, as a fan introduction to Weiss’ Whipped Egg White, melting clouds in your mouth that literally brought customers to her doorstep.

Social media also prompted local retailers to seek her out after Weiss decided in June to lease commercial kitchen space once demand exceeded what she could produce from her home kitchen.

Before the move, she made 15 dozen sandwich cookies on baking days, which equates to 30 dozen individual cookies.

Current state law limits where home bakers – known as artisan food businesses – can sell their products.

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Governor JB Pritzker enacted the Home-to-Market Act (SB2007) in August, effectively opening the door for small farms and home bakers to sell their products directly to customers through fairs and festivals, sales to home, pickup, delivery and shipping. .

The new law will come into force on January 1.

But Weiss’ decision to start cooking in a licensed commercial kitchen allowed him to sell directly to retailers.

Abbott and Boesdorfer both said they first discovered Mad Macs by following local social media feeds.

“I kept seeing her popping up,” Abbott said. “These cottage businesses are difficult. It’s nice to see something like that succeed. Now with us, and maybe in the future, she can expand her dreams beyond that.

This is not the first time that Custom Cup has supported young local women-based businesses.

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Pastry chef Kelsey Griesbaum previously sold her items at the Old Capitol Farmers Market under the supplier name Rolling Scones. Griesbaum’s menu at Custom Cup Coffee now includes bagels and scones made from scratch, breakfast sandwiches, granola, breakfast pastries, and baked goods.

“I’m drawn to women-based businesses because I know how difficult it is,” Boesdorfer said, “and we wanted to support these great local businesses. “

As for Weiss, she didn’t expect her pandemic distraction to turn into a salary.

But now she plans to hire staff, maybe looking for a commercial kitchen that she doesn’t have to share with other entrepreneurs and, who knows, maybe even her own storefront at the ‘to come up.

“I never thought the answer would be what it was,” she said. “I wouldn’t have gone this far without the help of other companies. It was huge. They helped me grow with confidence.

Natalie Morris can be reached at 737-7254 or by email at [email protected]

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