It's better to receive than to give, if we're talking about the incredible macarons at Essence Bakery Cafe. But if you're in need of a surefire gift that'll impress -- or if you want to serve something besides cookies at your holiday get-together -- these confections are the thing.
Have you tasted one? The texture is a revelation -- both chewy and creamy, they dissolve on your tongue. And the flavors are scrumptious. There's chocolate, pumpkin pie (tinged with orange spice), espresso, raspberry (with rose petal infusion), and caramel cream (with a touch of sea salt). Swing by the Tempe store to pick some up, or order a big batch online. Just don't open the box, though, or you'll face extreme temptation. -- Michele Laudig