Danielle Doyon, the owner of Baking with Danielle in Waterville, provides instruction recently for Sullivan Dow, left, and Jaxon Troxell. The boys are part of a baking class Doyon offers for children. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

It was a chilly, wet day Monday on Temple Street in downtown Waterville, but inside Danielle Doyon’s baking shop it was warm, both literally and figuratively.

Doyon, donning a black chef’s apron bearing the name of her business, Baking with Danielle, stitched in blue, was awaiting the arrival of four students who would learn how to make French macarons.

“French desserts are my favorite desserts,” she would tell them before the class started.

It was about 3 p.m. and the children were delivered by school bus or parents’ vehicles. They were Ryleigh Coyne and Jaxon Troxell, both 10, and Sullivan Dow, 9, all of Waterville, and Tessa Dutil, 10, of Sidney.

“They’re four of the nicest kids you’ve ever met,” Doyon said.

They skipped through the door, excited, chatting and reaching for their aprons before traipsing off to the kitchen to wash their hands.


It was the day before Halloween and the spacious bakery with freshly painted blue walls was decorated with tiny orange lights draped over a wall of cookie cutters. Two Kitchen Aid mixers, bowls, whisks, sifters and miniature candy eyes, bones, bats, skulls and other cookie decorations in little cups sat on a large stainless steel table.

Tessa Dutil and Ryleigh Coyne pipe macaron cookie halves onto a cookie sheet during a recent baking class held at Baking with Danielle in downtown Waterville. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“We’re going to make the world’s most difficult cookie,” Doyon said, reminding Coyne and Dutil that they had made macarons during summer baking camp.

Working in pairs, the children sifted almond flour and confectioners sugar, squeezed drops of food coloring gel into little bowls of egg whites, mixed the uncolored whites to form a meringue and took direction from Doyon, who created a clear syrup on the stovetop that would be poured into the meringue.

“This is called an Italian meringue because we added a cooked syrup,” she said.

All the while, she taught them new skills by asking questions and explaining why, for instance, she measures liquid ingredients in milliliters (it’s a more precise measurement, she said). She used French culinary terms such as “mise en place,” when asking them to clear their table surface to make it a “nice a place to work.”

“The next step is piping the macaron and you can’t do that in this mess,” she said.


Her love of teaching and interacting with children was evident in her animated speech and actions; their fondness for her also was palpable (“You’re the best teacher I’ve had in a baking class and the only teacher I’ve had in baking class!” Troxell exclaimed).

Doyon baked the tiny green and magenta-colored cookie halves in a 290-degree oven for 18 minutes, let them cool and created a chocolate ganache using heavy cream and chocolate which the children used to fill the cookies. They then began decorating the macarons, as their parents streamed in around 5 p.m. to pick them up, looking as excited as their offspring. They all tasted the cookies, snapped photos, thanked Doyon and were off.

French macaron cookie halves are carefully placed on a cookie sheet during a recent baking class for children held at Baking with Danielle in downtown Waterville. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“It’s just amazing how she doesn’t dumb down the recipes or desserts,” Dutil’s mother, Katie Dutil, said of Doyon. “Tessa makes blueberry tarts, ice cream cake, she’s made homemade Cheez-Its. She took classes this summer and every day she would come home with something new. It motivates her to do more. Danielle does really well with the kids, connecting with them and modeling. I like how she does small groups. She just treats them like mini-adults.”

A single mother, Doyon, 50, started her business 2 1/2 years ago in her Winslow home and moved it to 33 Temple St. in June. A registered nurse, she also works a flexible schedule at a rehabilitation center which allows ample time for baking and teaching, and is a substitute school nurse as well. A Lawrence High School graduate, she earned a bachelor’s in business with an English minor from New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University, taught English 101 at that university and in the summer worked with a pastry chef at a small coffee shop.

“He was so kind to me,” she said. “He made beautiful cakes and desserts and I just fell in love with it.”

Doyon was homesick and returned to Maine, where she worked as a pastry chef at the Royal River Grill House in Yarmouth and then studied nursing at University of Maine at Augusta, earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing.


Her love for sweets began when she was a young girl growing up in Fairfield, where she lived four houses from Hillman’s Bakery.

“My parents would give me a dollar and I’d walk to the bakery and buy a raspberry Bismarck and a coconut macaroon,” she recalled.

Doyon holds classes for adults as well and caters and takes orders for all sorts of cookies, pies, specialty cakes, cupcakes and more at info@bakingwithdanielle.com.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She is the author of the book “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published this year by Islandport Press. She may be reached at acalder@centralmaine.com. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story