The Not-So Humble Blueberry Ginger Muffin, a Favorite Guilty Pleasure
Once in a blue moon, something comes along and palpably alters a neighborhood for the good. In this instance, it happened 13 years ago when Judith Norell set up shop on the northeast corner of Broadway and W. 105th Street and started baking her heart out at Silver Moon Bakery.
With stratospheric real estate prices, the trend has been toward drugstores and other chains and away from neighbor-owned businesses. And yet, despite the vagaries of commercial leases in this city, Judith triumphed in putting the "mom" back in mom-and-pop shop. No small feat as our stretch of Broadway has contracted and expanded over the years! I'd guess you could count on one hand the local entrepreneurs near the block association's catchment. That's another thing that makes this place the treasure it is. On site, day in and out, Judith pours heart and soul into this jewel of a bakery, and Bloomingdale is the better for it.
My intention for this post is not to discuss the array of satisfying breads, mouth-watering tarts, and ready-made savory sandwiches Silver Moon offers up. Nor is it to marvel at the constant innovations and special seasonal treats featured there. (I'm looking at you, fetching Paris-Brest cream-filled choux).
No. Today, my point is to sing an ode to my favorite guilty pleasure: her blueberry ginger muffin. People in New York guard certain secrets and tips preciously. And if I were wiser, I wouldn't sing this from the rooftops. What happens when I am never able to get another? But that muffin has it all. Its surface-area-to-volume ratio? Perfect. Not all pumped up like the 1000+ calories behemoths you'll find at places that approximate bakeries. Its sweet factor? Again, perfect. Not treacly but lightly carmelized around the crisp edge of the muffin's rim. A touch of savory from the ginger, a squirt of tart from the fresh blueberries, a little crunch from the granulated sugar topping.
When at Silver Moon, I am reminded of that clichéd phrase so common in personal ads: looking for someone equally comfortable in a pair of jeans or a cocktail dress. (Whatever.) But somehow it fits this bakery: Silver Moon soars whether it is offering up a daily muffin or scone for breakfast or a sophisticated French pastry for a special occasion. It is one-stop shopping for your inner baked-goods omnivore. And it is a darn good reason to settle in Bloomingdale.
Don't change a thing, Judith. The honeymoon is far from over! Long may you wax delicious.
By Caitlin Hawke