Taste Test - Muffins

  • The List
  • 8 May 2008

Blueberry muffin £1.65 ••

Tinderbox, 14 Ingram Street and 189 Byres Road, Glasgow
Flatters a bit to deceive this one, with its generous size and nicely shaped top, as well as the purpley-blue interior. When tasted, however, the actual fruit is pretty scarce and the texture is heavy and doughy. Pricey too; combined with a Tinderbox cappuccino you’re heading towards a £4 bill.

Bran muffin £1.20 ••••

The Bakehouse, 32c Broughton Street, Edinburgh
A bit like carrots and teeth, perfect looks in a muffin are suspicious. The lopsided quiff on the top of this one reassures us it’s freshly baked, as promised by this Edinburgh newcomer. Smells a bit of gingerbread, and the texture is nutty as well as nicely crumbly. Not too doughy, not too sweet.

Lemon poppy seed muffin £1.30 •••••

Cafe Wander, 110a West George Street and 229 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
This is a proper muffin; it looks, smells and feels the part, with a sufficiently robust texture that’s also just crumbly enough to give as you eat it. The sweetness isn’t overpowering and the flavours are delicate yet distinctive. Best in this test.

Lemon muffin £1.35 •

AMT (Queen Street and Waverley stations, and elsewhere)
Sugar crystals generously sprinkled on the top are the first warning. The sweet, too-soft dough is the next. Finally, the pocket of gratuitous lemon goo injected into the middle like a jam doughnut just confirms the all-round excess. Was the goo to reproduce the sticky, just-cooked centre of a classic muffin? If so, it misses by a mile.

Banana and coffee muffin £1.30 •••

BHS, various branches including 64 Princes Street, Edinburgh and 67–81 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
The square shape is novel, but the insertion of a fondant icing smear seems to be taking things a bit far. Muffins have to decide if they’re cakes in disguise or not. Coffee seems a curious flavour choice for something designed to compliment coffee, but that said it has a decent texture and density.

Blueberry muffin 69p •

RS McColl, various locations
This is the muffin equivalent of a hamburger bun, dissolving in the mouth before you’re really aware there should be something there. Sickly sweet with a jammy flavour from the dried blueberries, and leaves an oily film on your fingertips. Best before date is over ten weeks away: in the nuclear winter these are what the cockroaches will be nibbling.

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