Hard to define a muffin. Unlike a cake, it's baked in tins sized for single servings. But so, too, are cupcakes. Is a muffin a cupcake that isn't iced? Is a cupcake a muffin that doesn't have fruit inside?
The upshot is that a muffin is a muffin when the baker says it is. Here are three places that offer moist, homey and altogether delicious muffins.
2034 North Country Rd., Wading River, 631-886-2203
At this casual family-owned spot, the house-baked muffins are moist and imaginative. You might find lemon-poppy muffins, cranberry orange or even a French toast muffin.
COOK'S SCRATCH KITCHEN & BAKERY
1014 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport, 631-651-5480
Pastry chef Stacey McDevitt's doughnut muffin tastes like a sugared doughnut but is made with a buttermilk batter, baked in a muffin tin, brushed with butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Call it a doughnut or call it a muffin -- it qualifies as a treat.
325 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-333-3060
At his hyper-popular diner, owner Tom Koukoulas offers a daily array of moist and homey house-baked muffins. The cinnamon coffee cake muffin is a standard, but you'll also find seasonal variations, such as raspberry streusel, peach cobbler and strawberry coconut.
101 E. Main St Smithtown, 631-406-7712
Save some room for the moist, nutty -- and disconcertingly green -- pistachio muffins. They're made daily by the chef's wife, Argentina Viera and, though baked in the restaurant's kitchen, taste like home.