Kitchen & Coffee vegan muffins

I’m Obsessed With is a new semi-regular series about the hyper-specific obsessions of Hudson Valley writers.

When it comes to breakfast, I’m a die-hard tasty girl: toasty bagels, spicy burritos, and oh-so-basic avocado toast. It’s not diet culture that’s dissuading me from having a sugary scone or cookie for breakfast in the morning, it’s just the simple fact that sugar in the morning usually makes me lethargic and grumpy the rest of the day.

So when my friend and I walked in Kitchen and cafe in Beacon to grab a snack one morning last year, I carefully avoided their tempting pastry case.

Kitchen & Coffee offers all things vegan and gluten-free, and while I’m not vegan or exclusively gluten-free like most millennials, I feel like I’m making a healthier choice when the food I eat has any sort of restriction pushed on the recipe.

My gluten-free friend, however, had a genuine medical reason for choosing this coffee. Once we walked in, I watched him drool over the colorful pie crust, pointing to each glorious treat behind the glass.

“Do you want to share a blueberry muffin with me?” He asked.

And before I could reply that I don’t like sweets in the morning, the barista behind the counter chirped “the muffins aren’t very sweet, actually.” It was enough for me to insist that I snack.

As a serial nibbler, I’ve tasted my share of muffins in the Hudson Valley – and wasn’t impressed. But as I put a piece of muffin with a juicy blueberry in my mouth, I was speechless. All I could think was how is it so moist and juicy and not sweet? My friend and I sat there with wide eyes and full mouths, nodding silently.

We split the remaining part of the muffin stump and my friend, who was still chewing, got up without a word and went back to the counter to order another. Pumpkin chocolate chips this time. We also split this one up and spent the next few minutes pontificating about how they managed to pack so much moisture and flavor into fist-sized treats, not to mention vegan and gluten-free.

Later that morning, I reluctantly waited for the sugar crash to hit me. But it never came. I felt full, but not sickening. At dinnertime, I would reconfigure my work schedule the next day, to include a quick stop at Kitchen & Coffee where I decided to grab my own muffin. This time it was the oatmeal banana berry flavor. Paired with my unsweetened Americano, the sweet, oatmeal treat gave me a knockout punch with every bite — and, to my relief, still no sugar crash later.

That weekend, I was hosting friends for brunch. I bought a box of muffins to complement the spread I made. Although I secretly hoped that the soft baked goods wouldn’t be affected – I would have muffins for a whole week! – they were the first to leave. Moans and groans of gustatory pleasure could be heard coming from five adults, huddled around my small kitchen table.

When I went out of town weeks later to visit the same friends, I asked what I could bring to contribute. Immediately my phone exploded with multiple requests for what they dubbed ‘crack muffins’.

Soon it was Thanksgiving, and instead of my mom making her famous cornbread, I offered to bring Kitchen & Coffee’s tasty new flavor, corn cheddar. I met my dad the night before our big holiday meal, standing over the open muffin box, knocking out a whole. “Don’t tell your mother!”

Here’s what I’ve come to believe: Whether you have a sweet tooth or opt for more savory options, whether or not you’re gluten-free or vegan, Kitchen & Coffee has perfected the muffin.

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