KANSAS CITY — Often forgotten in the gourmet baked goods discussion is the muffin. This individually-sized product not only makes for a convenient treat, but one that is very adaptable to different flavors and styles. While traditionally enjoyed for breakfast, the muffin can easily be transitioned into a snack or even a dessert with the right flavor.
Savory muffins have grown in popularity in recent years. In many cases, savory items outpace sweet items at bakeries because consumers, particularly younger ones, are looking to the bakery as a place to enjoy delicious foods to go, and snacking has replaced mealtime occasions.
“In recent times, consumers’ tastes and preferences are changing, and many are willing to experiment with the type of food that they take, including bakery and confectionery products,” said Atul Kumar, a lead analyst at Technavio for research on food. “In line with this, muffins, which are traditionally sweet items, are now being offered in savory varieties as well. With innovations in the bakery food processing techniques and flavors, vendors are coming up with muffins that incorporate several varieties of seasoning, garnishing, and additives.”
Many products reflect savory’s rise in the past few years. For instance, Craftsman and Wolves built its reputation on The Rebel Within, a loaded muffin created with a special batter with savory additions such as Asiago and Parmesan cheese, green onions, and sausage, which is then stuffed with a yolky, soft-boiled egg.
According to Datassential, muffins can take on a number of ingredients, such as the Southwest Chicken Sausage Muffin from Uprising Muffin Co. in Washington. This savory offering is filled with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, chicken sausage, and Monterey Jack cheese.
Sweet muffins also are making their mark on the industry. Uprising offers sweet options such as a Piña Colada Muffin with combines pineapple and coconut, the Marble Pancake Muffin which mimics the taste of pancakes and syrup, and the Snickerdoodle, a take on the classic cookie.
Retailers are even transforming muffins by mashing them up with other bakery products. Cruffins were born from the idea of the cronut — a croissant/donut hybrid. They are ideal for sweet flavors like the Apple Pie Cruffin from New York City’s Supermoon Bakehouse. It features a chunky apple caramel pie filling and cinnamon crème patissiere, topped with pie crust crumble, a white chocolate cream bulb, pie filling, and a gold leaf.
The muffin itself doesn’t even have to sweet to be ideal for sweet toppings. Ingredients like Nutella are an easy way to add a unique twist to muffins.