saffron doughnuts with rosewater icing

by Kristina Sloggett

in baking, Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free, recipes, Valentines Day, Vegan

Here I am with another pink and yellow dessert.

I have had the flavors of this doughnut in my head for a while. I couldn’t wait to taste it, and I have to say, they are as good as I imagined they would be.

These will be a unique and decadent Valentines breakfast or dessert option. Well, one of them. It’s Valentines Week around here, I cannot limit myself to one pink dessert.

I love the complex flavor saffron brings, and pairing it with a subtle rosewater is simply meant to be. I love these flavors, I love these doughnuts.

saffron doughnuts

dairy, gluten and soy free, vegan

makes 6 doughnuts

1 cup flour (gluten free ap)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut milk (carton)
3 large pinches saffron strands (or 1 teaspoon powdered)
1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil 

Pour coconut milk into mixing bowl, pinch saffron strands between fingers to break strands, stir into milk.  Add maple syrup, vinegar and oil. In separate bowl*, combine flour, baking powder and salt, add to liquid mixture. Fill doughnut pan between 1/2 – 3/4 full (or use muffin tin). Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes clean. Allow to cool before icing.

*the way my mom taught me when I was 5: mix all wet ingredients; add flour on top of wet  but do not mix – add remaining dry ingredients to the flour, mix into just the flour, then mix into wet ingredients. Save a bowl!

rosewater icing

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons* coconut milk
1 drop rosewater essence
coloring, optional (I used Seelect Tea – vegan + organic) 

Sift powdered sugar into mixing bowl. Whisk in coconut milk, *adjusting amount for desired consistency. Mix in a drop of rosewater essence and color if using.

Do you cook with saffron? What kinds of dishes do you make with it?


{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 8, 2012 at 5:50 am

Not that these aren’t awesome already, but if you added sprinkles to the top, they would look like the “Simpsons Doughnuts.”


2 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe February 8, 2012 at 6:11 am

Awesome flavor combo! I love rose flavored desserts and I bet rose and saffron make for an unusual and exotic treat.


3 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

When I can stomach the expense of saffron (seriously how can those tiny little strands cost so darn much!?) I love using it for cooking. I’ve never used it in a dessert, usually just savory dishes (specifically risotto) but I bet it’s wonderful in these donuts, which are gorgeous by the way :)


4 Shannon Roche February 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

I love donuts. I have been trying to use rosewater more frequently, because I accidentally ended up with two bottles in my pantry. It’s so hard to find the right combinations.


5 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit February 8, 2012 at 7:51 am

Saffron is SO expensive that I’ve never had the opportunity to bake with it. BUT it’s on my list of things to purchase by the CASE when I’m in India in a couple of days. I’ll definitely be making these donuts when I get back home :)


6 Cara February 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

I am so in love with the colors of these donuts, sister! Once again, you did a fabulous job–would I have expected anything different from you?? Of course not :) I cannot wait to try these! xo


7 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

Not only do the donuts sound perfect, but that pink and yellow is just so gorgeous, Kris! YUM and beautiful all in one!


8 Heather (Where's the Beach) February 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

I love your pretty desserts! I really don’t cook with saffron ever.


9 Lisa B February 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I haven’t made much with saffron (I’ve only used it once, I think). But I am always intrigued by it–it’s so interesting and unique!
The donuts look super good (as always!) :-)


10 christina February 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I just can never get over your beautiful food photos. You inspire me, to be better with my camera (I suck) and in the kitchen. XO!!


11 jules @ bananamondaes February 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

These look stunning. Love the flavour combinations too.


12 Richa@HobbyandMore February 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm

we usually use saffron in indian sweets and in rice.. i am loving it in the doughnut! with the rose water icing.. it is almost an indian gulab jamun!


13 Norma Chang February 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Saffron in doughnut, definitely unique and decadent and definitely for breakfast.


14 Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Hahaha, everything on pink here! Even more than usual. 😉


15 dorry February 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

oh, wow! these look amazing and I’m sure taste incredible. I’ve never baked with saffron, but this recipe might just change that. I have some new things to add to my grocery list.


16 Lysa February 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

These are perfect for a valentine’s day treat. They look so yummy!!


17 Eden February 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I love saffron. I steep it in hot cocoa.

Kris, will you be my valentine? Ryan Gosling bailed on me!


18 hihorosie February 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Yummy! My hubs loves saffron (has it every nite) so I’m sure he’d love these. Just need a donut pan…


19 Christin@purplebirdblog February 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

That’s it. I’m moving to Portland. Make room on your couch or put a tent up in the backyard. :)


20 spabettie February 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

WEEEEE!! yours wouldn’t be the first friend’s tent in our yard… 😀 and if you’re sleeping inside, you just may wake up to Basil’s head sharing your pillow :)


21 Christin@purplebirdblog February 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

That would be happy times, sharing a pillow with the sweet Basil-man. :)


22 spabettie February 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

it definitely is… okay, we need to make this happen for you. <3


23 Christin@purplebirdblog February 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

I so very much look forward to the day! The way things have been going I’m going to have to win the lottery first, but I’m working on it. 😉

24 jess February 13, 2012 at 6:27 am

these look beautiful – i love cooking with saffron, put it in soups, jams and baked goods. for my biz, i also made a soda around xmas, clementine with cardamon & saffron. it was super tasty w/beautiful color.


25 Gail February 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I love saffron, and bookmarked this lovely recipe!


26 spabettie February 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

yay, Gail! hope you like them! :)


27 Pat April 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

these are beautiful, unique flavors


28 Rachel Cooks February 13, 2015 at 4:22 am

Wow! These are stunners.


29 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

thank you Rachel!


30 Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence February 13, 2015 at 7:00 am

These are gorgeous! I’m loving the flavors here. I had a saffron doughnut once here in San Diego, and I loooooved it.


31 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

thank you Brandon! saffron is such a lovely flavor, and goes so well with rose, I think. now I want a doughnut… 😉


32 Alisa @ Go Dairy Free February 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

Saffron, really? I wish I could see into your brain to discover how these flavor ideas come up! I don’t cook with saffron enough – it is one of those things I easily forget about!


33 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm

saffron and rose are some of my favorite flavors – in college I used to make an Arabic tea with these ingredients – so good! I should make it again…


34 pam (Sidewalk Shoes) February 13, 2015 at 9:50 am

I need to get a donut pan!!! I love this. Saffron!


35 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:40 pm

the doughnut pan was a good addition, Pam – I use it often! :)


36 bb February 13, 2015 at 11:53 am

Looks gorgeous and is a favorite flavor combo of mine. Have you ever made Persian Love cake? I wonder if you could use coconut flour in the mix as well? I don’t know much about gluten free ap flour. Not sure what I would need to do to make a blend.


37 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

coconut flour is a tough one – you could use a small amount in a blend, not replacing the full amount – coconut flour is very absorbent, so using a small amount is recommended.

thank you for sharing that recipe, Barrett – the flavors sound so good and I am intrigued by the Rose Petal Spread – I will definitely be looking for that!


38 Heather | girlichef February 13, 2015 at 4:35 pm

This is a gorgeous flavor combination, very middle eastern! I haven’t used saffron in a while, but I want to pick some more up. And I do love the pink and yellow together. :)


39 Kristina Sloggett February 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

I love the pink and yellow too – and yes, these flavors remind me of an Arabic tea I loved in college – saffron and rose, so SO good!


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