This spring, 13-year-old Libby Leinbaugh took her education to a whole new level. Bored with quarantine and an avid baker, she decided to master the art of macarons.
“I saw macaron recipes on Pinterest and thought they looked cute, so I decided to try them,” Libby said. “I also love to find new things to make, so I had a lot of fun experimenting.”
She said her first batch tasted great but were hollow in the middle. Eight batches later and lots of research throughout the months, this now eighth grader at Spirit Lake Middle School creates macaron masterpieces and has started her own business called “Marvelous Macarons By Libby.”
Baking at a Young Age
Libby began baking and cooking more regularly with her mother Mindy when she was ten-years-old. “She gradually started to let me do more things by myself and I really enjoyed it,” Libby shared. “While I made different meals, she always stayed nearby. No matter what, I always had to clean up my messes.”
First starting with cake mixes, Libby increasingly became more experienced in the kitchen. At Christmas that year, her parents gave her a monthly subscription to Raddish Kids. Coming once a month, these kits were always filled with new recipes and all their ingredients.
“I really enjoyed trying the new things,” she said. “The kits helped me explore baking and cooking and provided me with new ideas of what to try.”
Marvelous Macaron Creations
Through her research process last spring, Libby discovered several trade secrets towards making a macaron masterpiece. One of her biggest issues was learning how to eliminate hollowness. “I found out I over-whipped the egg whites the first time,” she said.
Another way she prevents air bubbles in the macarons is to drop the pan onto the counter before baking. Soon after, she will place the sheets under the fan for 40 minutes.
“This helps them develop a skin on the top; a smooth top and feet on the bottom,” Libby explained.
Libby tried several different recipes until she found one she liked the best. Her favorite oven temperature is 320 degrees, and she prefers to use the bottom oven, moving the macarons farther away from the heat.
“You don’t want them to bake too hot, otherwise the top part will get brown and the bottom part won’t be done,” Libby shared. “The lower temperatures allow the macarons to bake evenly.”
While the macarons are cooling, she creates a flavored buttercream for the middle.
Libby has developed 15 different flavors ranging from strawberry lemonade to cookies and cream. For the holidays, she has added special additions like gingerbread, apple pie, hot chocolate, and peppermint. The outside of the cookie and middle portion will have matching flavors and colors.
An Online Business
While Libby’s family loves to taste test her creations, in August, she made some extra batches of different flavored macarons. With the help of her mother, Libby posted the extras on Facebook and she sold out instantly. Libby’s spring experiment has quickly turned into an online business where people send in their special orders. Her weekends have become booked with macaron creations.
“I definitely recommend trying something new and keep trying until you get it right,” she said. “After eight batches, I got my macarons right. Don’t give up!”
For more information, visit Marvelous Macarons By Libby Facebook page. Macarons are available for special order by the dozen. Base price $15/dozen. Libby requests orders to be placed 1-2 weeks in advance of need by date. She will do her best to fulfill special orders, and a person can request an order via private message.
Macaron Flavor List
- Chocolate Mint
- Cookies & Cream
- Birthday Cake
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry
- Cinnamon Roll
- Banana Cream
- Chocolate Banana
- Root Beer Float
- Puppy Chow
- Pumpkin spice
- Apple Pie
- Hot Chocolate