Nearly every summer during grade school, our parents gently shook us awake and seatbelted us into the minivan, still in our PJs. We backed out of the driveway before 6 am, a large mug of coffee in Dad’s hand and a Diet Snapple at Mom’s elbow. (She always drove; Dad always navigated.) After 6 hours on I-5, we had already driven thought half of California—and downtown LA, before rush hour traffic!—and pulled off the freeway in Anaheim.
We were going to Disneyland!
My brother and I bathed and set out our clothes that night, and we bounced out of bed bright and early the next morning. The park gates opened at 8, and we had to get there before then. How else would there be enough time to ride the Tea Cups, pose with Mickey, sing along on It’s a Small World, kiss Pooh’s nose, and sit for silhouettes on Main Street?
While our parents probably looked forward to their afternoon pool (and nap) time the most, my brother and I loved racing around Disneyland and checking off all of the rides. But the second-best part was breakfast. Because cold cereal and milk didn’t travel too well on the road, our parents spoiled us with a special treat…
They bought big Costco-sized packs, more than enough for the three or four days of vacation. Because of our small stomachs (and appetites), my brother and I split one each morning. We peeled off the wrapper, turned the muffin upside down, and nibbled on the bottom first. The soft sugary top was our favorite part!
But as picky eaters, we only ate one flavor: lemon poppy seed. (If the bakery sprinkled slivered almonds on top, we always picked them off!) We hated “bits” and “chunks” in our breakfasts, so blueberry, cherry, and cranberry muffins went to our parents’ plates instead.
Eventually, sometime around my 10th birthday, I relented and tried banana muffins for the first time. Yes, normal banana muffins don’t have chunks, but… Mom’s mashing was a little lazy, so our homemade ones did. And when I devoured half a dozen of those in a day, she convinced me to sample blueberry. And craisin. And apple.
But for some strange reason, I waited until high school to try raspberry. Oh boy, was THAT a mistake! I immediately fell head over heels for their sweet-and-barely-tart flavor, the juicy berries bursting open with every bite.
With a little extra tang from cream cheese, and a little extra decadence from white chocolate, these raspberry muffins might be the best I’ve ever had—or baked!