Slideshow: 10 Muffins We Love in Chicago

Blueberry Muffin at Au Cheval ($5)
Blueberry Muffin at Au Cheval ($5)

At five bucks, Au Cheval's is the priciest muffin I came across, but it's also the biggest. On top of that, it's chock-full of sweet, tart blueberries and baked to perfection. Deliciously crumbly top, fluffy interior, and inviting sweetness. This muffin eats other muffins for breakfast.

Au Cheval, 800 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (map) 312-929-4580; auchevalchicago.com

Cherry Oat Muffin at Alliance Bakery ($1.95)
Cherry Oat Muffin at Alliance Bakery ($1.95)

A spongy interior, mellow brown-sugar sweetness, and a toasted, caramelized-bran flavor set this muffin apart. Its sweetness is in check, even while stocked with chewy dried cherries that lend the muffin subtle red-fruit notes.

Fritz Pastry, 1408 West Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614 (map) 773-857-2989; alliance-bakery.com

Banana Espresso Muffin at Little Goat Bread ($2)
Banana Espresso Muffin at Little Goat Bread ($2)

Of all the muffins, this one is the brooder of the group. Subtle flavors of bittersweet chocolate and espresso give depth to the presence of baking spices and brown sugar. The steelier influence of espresso helps to temper the creamy softness of banana, resulting in a kind of restrained banana bread in muffin form (albeit with a square stump—weird!).

Little Goat Bread, 820 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (map) 312-888-3455; littlegoatchicago.com

Snickerdoodle Muffin at Reno ($2.75)
Snickerdoodle Muffin at Reno ($2.75)

While not overly sweet, Reno's snickerdoodle muffin could easily be mistook for a dessert thanks to its resemblance in flavor and texture to cinnamon coffee cake. The crumbly top and exterior give way to a moist and fluffy interior. Veins of cinnamon marbling descend from the top, which features a pleasant crystalline-sugar crunch.

Reno, 2607 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map) 773-697-4234; renochicago.com

Vegan Chocolate Muffin at Fritz Pastry ($3)
Vegan Chocolate Muffin at Fritz Pastry ($3)

This dense, sweet, super-moist muffin has a rich, round flavor that fluctuates between milk and dark chocolate. Which makes sense, since it's downright packed with chocolate chips. Vegan margarine subs in for butter here, but it's hardly noticeable. You'll be much more tuned in to the this muffin's fantastic chewiness.

Alliance Bakery, 1736 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (map) 773-278-0366; fritzpastry.com

Blueberry Bran Muffin at Fox & Obel ($1.99)
Blueberry Bran Muffin at Fox & Obel ($1.99)

It's more top than stump, which is good because the former is its best feature—sweet, slightly crunchy, and delicious. The blueberries are fresh and juicy and are surrounded by a moist, spongy crumb.

Fox & Obel Café, 401 East Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map) 312-410-7301; fox-obel.com

Apple Yogurt Muffin at Letizia's Natural Bakery ($2.50)
Apple Yogurt Muffin at Letizia's Natural Bakery ($2.50)

A tart slice of apple nestles into the peak of this handsome little muffin, which has a creamy-crunchy top supported by a tightly packed yet not overly cakey crumb. Overall this example was deliciously moist and noticeably buttery, with a warming, baked-apple flavor throughout.

Letizia's Natural Bakery: 2144 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 (map) 773-342-1011; superyummy.com

Sour Cherry Oatmeal Muffin at m.henry ($2.50)
Sour Cherry Oatmeal Muffin at m.henry ($2.50)

Dusted with confectioner's sugar, this tasty option from m.henry's bakery case is topped with bits of toasted oats and stuffed with crushed cherries. But it was the flavor that most intrigued me about this muffin; it reminded me of sweet cherry liqueur. Very mature for a muffin.

m.henry, 5707 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60660 (map) 773-561-1600; mhenry.net