Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

I made these Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts as a snack to take for my long travel day to The Greenbrier for the annual Symposium for Professional Food Writers. Recipe & photos from my visit.

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts

My journey to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia started with crickets chirping from my cellphone alarm at 4:50 a.m. Getting up that early hurts, but it gave me enough time to catch flights to Roanoke, Virginia via Detroit, and then catch a 90-minute shuttle to The Greenbrier. We arrived just in time for dinner. Have any of you been? This was my second visit (for this), and the place is fascinating - Dorothy Draper interiors, a massive cold war bunker, 4:15 afternoon tea. Activities like: falconry lessons, geocaching, and (no surprise) golf. Someone called it "America's Versailles", which made me laugh. I was there for three days, and thought I'd share some shots I took, along with a recipe for the brown sugar rosemary walnuts I baked for the long travel day.

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

I think my favorite room (below) at The Greenbrier is just off the main lobby. It gets good light throughout the day, and there is just enough space for a handful of chairs and a proper writing desk. Twin ceramic spaniels keep watch from the mantel beneath a convex circle mirror made of, what appears to be, bronze. I typically see people alone in there, reading a morning paper, or nodding off (in a sea of floral fabric ;) after lunch.

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

I spent most of my time at The Greenbrier at the symposium - meaning, in a conference room. Which sounds bad, I know. It sounds even worse when I tell you there was an expansive infinity pool just down the hill. And beautiful weather. But I like this symposium because it's small and I'm able to get to know the other speakers and attendees in a way that isn't possible at larger gatherings. Good smart conversation throughout the day, and I was able to sneak out here and there to explore with my camera. The best part? It's warm at night - and there's just something about sitting out on the terrace late at night with a drink, friends, cicadas singing, and the big moon watching over reminded me of being a teenager again. Minus the clove cigarettes.

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts Recipe

So, I'm back home. But gearing up for another big trip which I'll share with you soon. In the meantime, these walnuts are one of the things I squirreled away in my bag to snack on during the flights. They are brown-sugar coated, tossed with chopped dried figs, sesame seeds, and a good dose of rosemary. The recipe makes a one pound batch, so you'll have plenty to share, or just keep on hand.

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Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts

1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g brown sugar or natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g sesame seeds
2 large egg whites
1 lb / ~4 cups shelled walnut halves
1/3 cup / 1 1/2 oz / 45 g chopped dried figs, stems trimmed

Preheat oven with racks in the center to 300F / 150C. Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, rosemary, and sesame seeds.

Now, in a large bowl whisk the egg whites a bit, just to loosen them up. Add the walnuts, and figs to the whites and toss until they are evenly coated - it'll take a minute or so. Sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over the nuts and toss (really well) again.

Split the nuts between the two prepared baking sheets in a single layer, separating them the best you can.

Bake for ~25 minutes or until the walnuts are toasted golden and the coating is no longer wet. Cool for a few minutes, then slide the parchment/nuts off the hot baking sheets onto a cool surface to cool completely. These will keep for a week or so in an airtight container or baggie.

Makes 1 pound of nuts, or 4 medium bags.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 25 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Some stunning pics here, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Neil | Butterfield

Love this idea for kicking up a simple snack!

Blog is the New Black

It's great to have something like this on hand, especially when you're travelling. Beautiful pictures as well, so evocative.


Delicious biscuits to have around while travelling, I envy you guys who can pack+bake before a trip...every time I tried to do so I ended up with burnt goods or a messed up baggage! anyway, since I don't have to travel I have no excuse, just need to buy figs!


My boyfriend loves wlanuts, so I'm going to make these for his Christmas stocking.

Gary @ The Greedy Fork

These would definitely be more satisfying than the bag of gummi bears I seem to eat everyday here in Zürich (those little Haribo bears are addictive). Just a curiosity question, because I imagine the outcome would be slightly different - did you elect to use brown sugar or natural cane sugar? And didn't Marie Antoinette have spaniels? If so then those puppies on the mantle must be the Greenbrier's attempt at mimicking the scenery at Versailles. But was their cake?


What a fabulous idea to mix in dried figs with candied nuts! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me, Heidi :)


What a great flavour combo! I'm a little confused though - (maybe it was that run at 98deg earlier??) - do you bake the figs in the eggwhite/sugar mixture as well? Anyhoo, I could see this making a delicious bread recipe, too! HS: Yes Amanda, exactly :)


Figs, walnuts, rosemary....oh these sound heavenly. And you just brought me back a good decade (or two) with the mention of clove cigarettes. Oh, the memories of that scent!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Great gift idea. Love toasted nuts.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanets

The walnuts look great; love the addition of rosemary! My family lives close to White Sulphur Springs, so I can relate to the balmy evenings spent on a terrace. Even though SF is hot now, I still can't help but long for those humid evenings...

katy from Dining with Dusty

I love the Greenbriar and have been there several times, including twice for business meetings. It has been awhile but the food was always great and the setting is wonderful. I live too far away now to go. Glad you enjoyed.


Wow, I've been to the Greenbriar many years ago, probably 30 or so. My grandparents took us a couple of times when I was a teenager. Not that great for that age, and ties and jackets required for dinner, but it did have character.


I cannot wait to try this! what a yummy combo.


How wonderful! What a wonderful time - and hard to resist munchies.

Belinda @zomppa

Heidi, the symposium sounds like a wonderful experience in a delightful place. And your nut mix will be perfect with my recently home-dried figs for travel snacks during my first European travel adventure in a couple of weeks. As always, thank you.

Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers

I'm getting ready for a quick getaway in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait to make these walnuts. I'm loving the idea of your rosemary/brown sugar combo!

la domestique

Love how the combination of rosemary and fig sounds with walnuts... looks like a fantastic snack. And America's Versailles?! You make it sound sooo lovely! And beautiful pictures, to boot.


Yum. That sounds great. I having been loving snacking on nuts lately. Thank you.


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