Peggy’s cinnamon rolls have come out of pastry retirement.
Those are/were the legendary buttercream-topped cinnamon rolls served at Peggy’s Cinnamon Rolls, the bakery that operated for 20 years at Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square and as a wholesale entity.
Peggy’s exited Freighthouse Square more than a decade ago, and the rolls entered a lengthy hiatus, except for the short time they were available at a cafe in Port Orchard in 2014.
People in Tacoma, all these years later, still talk about Peggy’s famous cinnamon rolls.
Why? Because they were sticky deliciousness wrapped up in clouds of cinnamon and buttercream.
The recipe remains all Peggy’s, but the baker today is Peggy’s son.
“She still makes rolls at home for friends but is retired,” said Joe Waldherr, who worked alongside his mom at her bakery. It’s also where he met his wife, Tristin Conner, who also worked at the bakery.
Conner is a big reason the rolls are back in circulation. Joe’s sister was visiting, and they needed a quick take-out meal. Peggy suggested the family order pressure-fried chicken and jojo potatoes from Anglea’s, the homespun family restaurant in Midland.
A chance comment about cinnamon rolls caught the attention of the Fraizer family, the owners of Anglea’s.
Conner asked a staff member — the daughter of Anglea’s owners John and Lori Fraizer — about the restaurant’s pressure-fried chicken and in the course of that conversation, Conner happened to mention her family was the cinnamon roll family from Freighthouse Square.
Lindsay Fraizer called her father John over.
“I couldn’t believe they were standing in front of me,” recalled John Fraizer, who first met Peggy Waldherr in 1991.
Back then, he had just started a catering arm of Anglea’s and needed cinnamon rolls for a big order, and he didn’t know how he was going to make all of them. So he ordered from Peggy Waldherr. For years, he purchased her cinnamon rolls for catering jobs until she retired (the first time).
At first, Joe and John joked that they would do a food swap. A bucket of Anglea’s famous broasted (pressure fried) chicken for a pan of the famous cinnamon rolls.
Things spiraled from there, so to speak.
Joe arrived at the Anglea’s kitchen to make a batch of the cinnamon rolls, and John and Joe realized they each had a need. John needed pastry help in the kitchen, and Joe needed a short-term job while he finishes school (he’s studying to become an accountant).
The first week they teamed up they worked on the recipe and finding the right ingredients.
“It took two weeks to figure out the flour to get it right,” said John Fraizer.
Waldherr said flour is imperative for the tender texture of Peggy’s rolls.
“The flour is a big deal,” he said.
But there was a problem. The flour they used at Peggy’s bakery was off the market, so they went looking for a substitute.
“What you look for in a baking flour is the moisture content, and some flours we used were just all over the place with moisture. One bag would be fine, but the next bag the absorption rate was off,” said Waldherr. “If there is too much moisture in it, the recipe won’t come out.
“I told Tristin the first time I got the recipe dialed in, when we got the flour right and the dough in line, it was just like back at the bakery. The smell that you get when you get the dough just right. It took me back to the bakery, and it was just wonderful. And that’s part of this whole thing, all the wonderful memories are coming back, the nostalgia of it.”
The rest of the recipe includes cinnamon and real butter — lots of it — and Peggy’s famous buttercream frosting.
“A lot of people think it’s cream cheese, but it’s not. It’s a buttercream made with real butter,” said Waldherr.
Fraizer added, “The greatest thing about the cinnamon rolls with Peggy’s is the frosting. He makes that from scratch, too.”
That buttercream is used on the regular rolls and the ones made with raisins. Raisin cinnamon rolls weren’t as popular as the cinnamon bread at Peggy’s bakery, but Anglea’s diners are eating up all the raisin spiked cinnamon rolls, said Waldherr.
He also bakes his mom’s famous caramel-nut buns with chopped nuts suspended in a buttery caramel glaze that he also makes from scratch. Oh, and he is making cinnamon bread, one of the other popular items from the family’s bakery (and it’s available through advance ordering by phone).
Waldherr has since taken over pie baking at Anglea’s. He’s added a caramel-apple pie to the menu using the Waldherr family caramel glaze recipe. He starts his shift daily at 5 a.m., so get there early for fresh rolls right out of the oven.
Fraizer and Waldherr tease about “swapping secret recipes” with one another, and they have. The cinnamon roll ingredients no longer are a mystery to Fraizer. And Waldherr? He now knows the recipe for the restaurant’s famous sweet buttermilk-garlic dipping sauce served with Anglea’s pressure fried jojo potatoes and chicken.
The rolls are baked daily by Waldherr and are available until they sell out. They’re priced $4.85 each and are oversized (built for sharing). A half dozen is $24 and a baker’s dozen is $45. All are available in bulk if ordered ahead.
Where: 7511 Portland Ave. E., Tacoma
Info: 253-531-9329, facebook.com/AngleasRestaurant
Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.