The eight-grain cereal, whole-wheat flour, and brown-sugar caramel say it all; the Grand Central Cinnamon Roll was born in the '70s. 1972 to be exact, in Grand Central's predecessor, The Bakery. My mother and her original partners Marion and Marian opened a café in the newly renovated Maynard Building (former home to the Grand Central Railroad offices) in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood. For breakfast, the idea was they would offer a different fresh-baked breakfast pastry each morning, along with a selection of simple egg preparations and healthy hot cereal. My mother whipped out batches of fresh buttermilk biscuits (p. 96) and offered up trays of streusel-topped coffee cake (p.30); but when she served her cinnamon rolls (p. 42-45), people lined up the next day asking, "where do I buy those cinnamon rolls?" That day, the cinnamon roll became a fixture in the Grand Central repertoire.
I'm 44 and our cinnamon roll is 38 ? that means basically my entire conscious life I have been eating some version of this roll. Now that I think about it, some of my most delicious memories are of warm cinnamon rolls served alongside scrambled eggs, or rolls pulled apart and smothered with butter, next to a dark mug of coffee.
Like many of her cohorts, my mother's baking was heavily influenced by The Tassajara Bread Book, published in 1970 by the Chief Priest Zen Center in San Francisco. The whole-grain bread dough that is the core of our cinnamon rolls was born from this seminal, hippie baking book. It is just like my mother to transform "healthy" whole-grain bread dough into gooey, sweet cinnamon rolls. I've seen her do it many times. She rolls out the dough, smears it with soft butter, tops the butter with a generous amount of brown and white sugars mixed with cinnamon, then coils it up into to these yummy breakfast rolls.
Today our cinnamon rolls remain one of our best sellers, and I can't help think that avid fans will love baking them at home. Our version, scaled for the home baker, yields a smaller roll that can be timed to rise overnight and be ready to pop into your oven when you wake up in the morning.