Macaron Melee: Essence vs. Scratch

Oo la la, the macaron, that delicate French confection that looks like a Whoopie Pie at first glance, yet commands a chorus of angels when eaten. It is a precise and fickle pastry, made from a light dough of almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. Macarons require only the tastiest filling -- usually jam, buttercream or ganache, made with care from the best ingredients. 

Most bakeries don't even try to make these sassy little noshes, especially since around these parts, they all know Eugenia Theodosopoulis of Essence Bakery is the reigning queen of the Macaron. So, when we noticed that the pretty little goodiebags in the pastry case at Scratch contained macarons, we knew a battle between the bakeries' caramel flavor was in order. We also thought we would make the battle more interesting and compare a second flavor, so we took Essence's Strawberry Cream (a new flavor, picked by Facebook fans) to the plate against Scratch's Lavender macaron.

Which Macaron made us swoon? Find out after the jump.

In one Corner: Essence Bakery, 825 W. University Dr., Tempe, 480-966-2745

Lavender: The shell of this perfectly purple beauty is hard and crumbles a bit, like the Salted Caramel, but its larger size makes it easier to manage. The buttercream is nice and firm and helps to add stability while you bite. Lavender is a flavor that needs a soft touch. Too much lavender, and you feel like you are eating laundry soap, not enough of it, and disappears into the flavors of the other ingredients. Scratch handles the lavender expertly, the balance is just right, and the floral essence is subtle and not at all aggressive. We thought the dark purple sprinkles on top were a nice touch.
The Verdict: Essence Bakery remains the undefeated champion of Caramel Macarons.
Feature Flavor Winner: The subtlety of flavor in Scratch's Lavender won us over.

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