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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The name "Baker's Muffin" ($4) doesn't give you much to explain the pastry lookalike of a Buddha hand. City Bakery's muffin-like-thing is a barely sweet hunk of amalgamated dough that crests and whorls up and out of the muffin tin. While its base is smooth and muffin-like, its top is crusty and flaky, almost like a laminate dough.

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The dough chunks that make up the muffin have the cohesiveness of bread pudding—albeit one that's light on the custard. But you can pull it apart like monkey bread, all the better to get at the small raisins and chunks of walnut inside, to dip in your "oh god this is so rich" City Bakery hot chocolate, or just to share with a friend for breakfast (it is huge).

We're not going to ring the bell of hybrid pastry, but to recap: this is a bread-pudding-like, monkey-bread-able, flaky-pastry-topped, raisin-and-walnut-studded thing that claims to be a muffin. It's a very good muffin—or muffin-like imposter—refreshing in its low sweetness, and as fun to eat as it is to think about.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor and ice cream maker in residence at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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