Dirt Bomb season opens up for the summer: a visit to Blue Willow

One morning last summer, a friend and I arranged an unusual breakfast date. Rather than meet at her house or mine, we decided to pull together a picnic at a marshy beach midway between the two.

My job was coffee; I picked up two steaming Beanstock espresso lattes at the Wicked Oyster. Hers was French Breakfast Muffin babies: the bite-sized cinnamon sugar muffins stacked high atop a cake stand each morning at the Blue Willow in South Wellfleet. While the muffins (also available as "Dirt Bombs" at the Cottage Street Bakery in Orleans) are baked in the larger size as well, we figured out long ago that the smaller treats offer a better sugar-to-batter ratio.

Clutching our coffee and a bag of mini-dirt bombs each, we spread a blanket across the damp sand and watched the morning begin around us. Busy crabs scuttled in and out of sand tunnels, the tide turned in, and before long the feast had disappeared.

Today when I drove by the South Wellfleet Post Office, I noticed the Blue Willow flag flapping against the door again for the first time since December. I dropped in to start off the dirt bomb season. With the first bite of crystal and spice, that lazy summer morning was back in an instant. To the friend who shared it with me: don't wait too long for a trip home to picnic again.


Prepare recipe for Buttermilk Nutmeg Muffins with Amaretto, repeated below from previous post.

Makes 10 large muffins

Sift together in a large bowl 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup cake flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 large ground nutmeg seeds.

In a separate bowl, stir together 2 large eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 2/3 cup honey, 6 tablespoons room temperature butter, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Beat lightly to incorporate honey and butter.

Mix dry ingredients into wet; fill 10 well oiled muffin cups to the brim with batter. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

While muffins bake, melt 1/2 stick butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. In a wide shallow bowl, mix together a batch of cinnamon sugar using 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. When tray emerges, brush hot muffins with butter and roll in sugar. Eat hot or enjoy cool for several mornings to come.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.