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Edible: Midtown Swedish Church Makes Great Cinnamon Buns

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A Midtown Manhattan church makes sweet cinnamon buns that brings the joy of Sweden's coffee breaks to New York City. Rachel Wharton of EdibleManhattan.com filed the following report.

At the Swedish Church on 48th Street, a tiny cafe makes some of the best sweets in Midtown. Each week for the past 32 years, Monica Lee has baked thousands of buttery cinnamon buns in the church basement.

"I make between 500 and 600 a week," says Lee. "This is a spread of cinnamon, butter and vanilla sugar. I'm going to start rolling it together."

Unlike American cinnamon buns that covered in a sticky glaze, Swedish buns are sprinkled with giant pieces of crunchy sugar. They also have a special name -- kanelbullar, which means "cinnamon bun."

The Swedish church takes their cinnamon buns seriously, because without cinnamon buns, you can’t have coffee break, and without coffee break, you wouldn’t be Swedish.

"Coffee break is a big deal in Sweden. Everything kind of stops at 11 o'clock in the morning as well as 3 o'clock, just for a short while. And then you have coffee and cinnamon bun," says church administrator Lena Fleischmann. "Not always cinnamon bun, but it's just like apple pie here."

The coffee shop also sells open-faced Swedish sandwiches for $2.50, but we put our money on the buns, now made with all-organic ingredients.

"They are two dollars, a bargain for, I promise you, the best cinnamon bun in town," says Fleischmann. "Over the years, we have had other people that have baked, and I don't now, somehow Monica has the special kind of touch. There is something special about them. Something happens when you eat them, I think."

To learn how to celebrate Gotham's food culture season by season, visit EdibleManhattan.com.

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