Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Donut – a Gluten Free Ratio Rally post

by Irvin on September 7, 2011 · 18 comments

Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donut Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donut

It was my friend Grant who gave me the idea of the donut flavor that I should create for this month’s Gluten Free Ratio Rally. “What goes well with vanilla?” I asked my friends, while hanging out on their deck in Sonoma. I was thinking about the pound of chef quality Tahitian vanilla beans I had splurged on a few months ago (turns out a pound of vanilla beans is a LOT of beans). The vanilla seeds have pretty much made it into nearly all my baked goods, the way salt goes into nearly all savory goods. I had even brought a ziplock bag of them with me with Hawaii. Grant put his science fiction book down after I asked the question, looked over at me and said “How about rose water?” and I started to think about the beautiful results that would come from that combination. Donuts are such a blank palette, and elevating them a bit sounded perfect. Why not? So I present to you the Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Donut.

I rarely bake with floral flavors. Rose, lavender, orange blossom. They are all lovely, if slightly girly flavors, more suitable for potpourri in most people’s mind than on a plate served up as dessert. AJ usually rejects them outright, telling me that they just taste like soap. But secretly I adore them, my favorite ice cream flavor from our local ice cream parlor being Honey Lavender – one of the inspirations for my honey lavender cheesecake. But rose water isn’t something I’ve played with before so I was eager to jump into the kitchen with it.

Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donut

Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donut

AJ and I had spent this past Labor Day weekend up in Sonoma, with Grant, his partner Peter, and our friend Hadley who recently relocated here from Minneapolis. You might remember their awesome cabin that we borrowed to host a number of friends up there last year. This time round, they were there with us, the consummate gracious hosts, making dinner for us, entertaining us, and pour wine for us to nonstop (I don’t drink much, but AJ appreciated it immensely). Every night Hadley, Peter and I stayed up late chatting about our past and our future and who we were and how we viewed each other. We laughed, cried, and generally acted like old friends did when they got together. It had been way too long since I’ve had the chance to spend quality time with old friends.

I think we might have been a little tipsy in this picture.

I think we might have been a little tipsy in this picture. Well Peter and Hadley at least.

I didn’t have the chance to bake for them this past weekend, though I offered to make dessert one night but Peter said it wasn’t necessary. I had actually brought up some leftover caramel bars (I’ll be posting about those soon) and we noshed on those after our steak dinner with grilled corn, heirloom tomato salad and summer squash gratin (the last item had me reaching for third and fourth helpings). Instead of baking, I took it easy, lounged about, read a book (how did reading a book become a luxury for me? I never seem to have time for it anymore) and talked until all hours of the night.

In fact, it was the last night we were there, where Peter, Hadley and I stayed up, talking until 4am, just catching up. We had spent the day apple picking, wine tasting, feasting at an award winning farm to table restaurant in Sonoma and hanging out in a Guerneville bar, where I ran into a past fling of mine. It was a full day and as Peter, Hadley and I chatted away, laughing at everything and nothing at all, I looked around at my surroundings and realized how lucky I was. To have friends like these, to have a partner who loves me, to be there in Sonoma at the moment in time, I never wanted it to end.

Hadley consulting with Grant about the apples he just picked.

Hadley consulting with Grant about the apples he just picked.

When I got back from the weekend, tired from the lack of sleep but recharged more than I thought I would be, I set out to make some gluten free donuts. It had been awhile since I had developed a gluten free recipe from scratch, but playing with flours can be so inspirational. Wheat flour is great, but it’s a one-note song. The minute you start reaching for different flours, you start incorporating new instruments, and soon you’ve got an orchestra of different musical notes, all playing in harmony with each other. Reach for this flour, that starch, this binder, that fat and soon I’ve got myself a new recipe for donuts. Add some rosewater glaze and sprinkle on some decorative pearl sprinkles and I’m proud to include these donuts with the rest of the Gluten Free Ratio Rally donuts.

Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donuts

Roses and Pearls Vanilla Bean Gluten Free Donuts

This month’s Gluten Free Ratio Rally is hosted by Meg over at Gluten Free Boulangerie. Feel free to bounce over to her post on the rally and visit some of the other people who have contributed to this month’s donut-a-polooza.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Priyanka September 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

How awesome is that….I love doughnut and your creation is very tempting


Rachel @ The Crispy Cook September 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

These not only have the rose and pearl flavors, but you made the visuals just right too. Bravo!


Lisa @ GF Canteen September 7, 2011 at 10:47 am

oooo. pretty! bet they taste great, Irvin.


Caneel September 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Love the color with the white pearls – so pretty! These look delicious!


Magpie's Recipes September 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Ooooh so pretty! I don’t think I would mind wearing one of those! Doug nut earrings perhaps?


Jenn September 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Absolutely gorgeous. I certainly need to play with floral flavors more, these sound amazing.


mary fran September 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I think we used the same sprinkles!

The doughnuts look simply divine!


S. B. Hadley Wilson September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I thought I was going to sample them! :-) … Such a fabulous weekend and I thought the same thing about how lovely it was to have two nights of late night bonding (plus all the fun with the boyfriends). … Them caramel bars were real good.


Tara September 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

These are gorgeous, Irvin. I will admit that I’m normally a no-rosewater girl, but your glaze has intrigued me. Rose paired with strawberries and vanilla might just work for me! When rosewater is the primary flavor I always feel like I’m eating a bouquet. But what if it was the background flavor to sweet berries? It’s just like your orchestra analogy: as a harmonizing note, it might just work. Thanks for reminding me to be open-minded. Thanks also for pointing me towards Lara’s soy flour tip! I’m going to look for some soon!


Meg | Gluten-Free Boulangerie September 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I never thought doughnuts would be so elegant! Very creative. I love rosewater, & strawberries sound like a lovely accompaniment!


Carrie @ poet in the pantry September 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

Having had a particularly perfume-y lavender ice cream several years ago, I tend to avoid the flowery-scented baked goods. But I recently started using orange blossom water and I’m starting to convert. Maybe this would be just the thing to get me to try rose water next! :) They look fantastic! Sounds like you have a wonderful trip, too!


Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet September 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Yum Irvin!! These donuts look awesome. Great story too.


Jeanette September 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Wow, these sound amazing – so interesting with rose water. I bought some a while ago from an Indian store and have yet to try it. So glad to hear you were able to spend some quality time with good friends – sounds like you had tons of fun!


Vijitha Shyam September 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Addictive combination. I love rose water, we use rose water to make sweet lassi (Indian buttermilk). I am quite tempted to try this recipe now.


The Eating Club September 11, 2011 at 6:11 am

Rose water glaze, that sounds like something dreams are made of. You’ve got my taste buds working overtime. Inspired!


manhattan September 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

i love the donut .. i love the combination sounds delicious ..


jas September 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

well, helloooooo to this weekends baking treat! these look so delicious and I simply love the vanilla + rosewater combo – can’t wait to try these!


merri October 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm

i cant imagine life without reading!! although sometimes on the weekends i dont really have time to read my books. i still finish a couple a week or sometimes even one a day LOL. i’m such a nerd.


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