Eric McNulty on Life
I have an almost unnatural weakness for muffins. There's almost no time that a muffin isn't tempting and, like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything but temptation.
And muffins are available at more and more places. This is not good news for my waistline or cholesterol level although my taste buds scream with delight. Finding a truly great muffin, however, is never easy.
I think of myself as more of a muffin traditionalist than a muffin snob. The cake should be moist -- not too dense or too crumbly -- and the fruit, raisins, or whatever should be throughout and not just sprinkled on top. Most important, the muffin should not be too sweet (or else it would be cake and it's harder to justify eating cake for breakfast).
Blueberry, I believe, is the true test. The cappuccino yogurt surprise or the French crumble are good but a bit showy. Blueberry is the universal muffin yardstick.\n\nIf you grew up in New York, you have had specs of pulverised berries dispersed throughout the muffin. These are great muffins for grilling with butter and are standard fare in delis and coffee shops. \n\nIn Boston, the Jordan Marsh muffinn is the long standing favorite. Jordan Marsh the store is long gone but the muffin recipe survives. The muffins are medium sized, full of large blueberries, and sprinkled with sugar on top. A few minutes in the toaster oven and heaven emerges. Variants can be found at The Brewster Country Store on Cape Cod. Be quick -- they're all gone by 9:30 on weekend mornings.\n\nThere is a trend toward sweeter and sweeter food in the United States. I increasingly find muffins that are so sugared they are treacly. Worse yet are those that are crafted with fake fat and fake sugar -- they are too spongy and are almost painful to eat (my doctor sighs in relief). \n\nWhere are the great muffins in your town?