It’s been a few years since we did the Nantucket muffin taste test, and bakeries have grown and changed, so it seemed as if it would be fun to try them all again. We started out planning to buy a blueberry muffin at each bakery and compare them side by side. We were able to get a nice-looking one at Petticoat Row and one from Wicked Island bakery at The Hub. You can also get Petticoat Row baked goods at Millie’s Market in Madaket, but their hours are truncated after Labor Day so they weren’t open.
Then we drove out to The Green, which always marches to its own drummer. Today’s muffin was a pumpkin spice gluten free muffin, so that’s what we bought.
Next we headed out to the beautiful new location of the Nantucket Bake Shop on Old South Rd. This seems to be much larger than their old digs, and they have quite a selection of morning sweet rolls and doughnuts as well as several kinds of muffins.
Finally we fought our way through the traffic around the Downyflake to pick up one of their muffins as well. (Actually, we parked at Stop and Shop and walked over, as their lot was jammed.)
We cut slices of each of the muffins and compared them.
5. Wicked Island Bakery. ($3 at the Hub. May be cheaper at their bakery.) These muffins come wrapped in a paper tube, and we photographed them both in the tube and unwrapped. This is the one muffin that had no sugar crystals along the top. Even though it was a “blueberry” muffin, it had a distinct banana taste as well. The texture was more like a cake than a muffin, and while there appeared to be a fair number of blueberries, they didn’t have much taste. Disappointing.
4. Petticoat Row, (Nominally $3.50 but on a post Labor Day sale of $2.14.) The muffin is smooth textured and a little dry. Granulated sugar on top. Very few blueberries within, and a lingering sweet aftertaste.
3. The Green ($3.25) This pumpkin spice muffin was moist and fairly good but probably would have been better without quite so much spice flavor. Even though this was a gluten free muffin, this was in no way obvious.
2. Nantucket Bake Shop ($1.95). These are smaller muffins and priced accordingly. Even though these were blueberry, they had a strong cardamom flavor as well. They had a nice topping of large sugar crystals and a decent blueberry count and flavor, but an undeniable artificial aftertaste.
1. The Downyflake ($1.25) . Our overall winner and second time champion. They had the best all around flavor, a good blueberry count and an excellent crystal sugar topping. They were moist and there were no off-notes to their flavor. And best of all, they were less than half the price of any of the others. No wonder their parking lot is jammed!
We'd also note that if you are lucky enough to be staying at the Anchor Inn, Charles Balas' muffins are exceptional.