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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Such a neat idea for a plane snack, I always carry my own goodies too since finding anything healthy is usually impossible in an airport, but this nuts sure beat my organic granola bars out of a box.


Loved your photography of the Greenbrier! I've never been but it looks beautiful. And those walnuts are the perfect travel snack - I just got back from a very long flight from Paris and I wish I had those with me on the plane!

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

Sounds awesome! I'm from WV and I get so proud when I hear people say good things about it. Too often people are knockin' it when they haven't even been there. These walnuts look delish!


Breathtaking photography, as always. Rosemary adds an unspeakable deliciousness to nuts. Wonderful recipe!

Kelly at Inspired Edibles

Great flight snack! I never would have thought to pair up rosemary and brown sugar before. :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

I wonder if you could do this minus the eggs...maybe use a melted butter-alternative product?


The Greenbrier sounds like a great place for a conference. And these nuts look perfect for taking on a long flight.


I can practically smell them toasting away in the oven. Thank you for another lovely recipe - these will be perfect for a hiking/camping trip I'm planning for my family! {The clove cigarette comment has me smiling, too . . . ahhh, the heady magic of nostalgia}

Monika {windycityvegan}

I love adding herbs to sweet flavours. I think it really elevates the food and almost makes it luxurious.

Samantha @ Bikini Birthday

These look absolutely fabulous! I bet they are amazing on a salad.

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray

As a mid-Atlantic girl, I have been to the Greenbrier and share your fascination...mostly, though, I'm still laughing about the clove cigarettes comment. Love your candor, Heidi.


What a great combination of flavors! I'll have to start searching for dried figs.

Amanda : Grace & Gusto

What a great combination of flavors! I'll have to start searching for dried figs.

Amanda : Grace & Gusto

I'm actually originally from around Roanoke, VA and have been to the Greenbrier. It is definitely a fascinating place and lovely. I loved touring the bunker and the hotel itself is a beautiful piece of history. Your pictures are fantastic and really do a great job of showing the place off! plus those walnuts sound scrumptious!

The Sweet Cupcaker

i love the "Good Ship Lollipop" photo - it looks so classic!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

'Minus the clove cigarettes'.... that made me laugh! I thought that was only something NZ & Australian teenagers got into when someone arrived home from holidaying in Bali ;-) hehe I love those warm nights too.


Last year, before Christmas, I made something similar with orange zest. I forgot the important part though, to separate them, in one single layer. The stuck together, but they were delicious anyway. I still think walnuts and orange go really well together, but adding some thyme, instead of the rosemary might make a great difference, taste wise. Thanks for the continuous inspiration!


yeah, these sound great and pretty novel kind of a snack. So other people used to smoke those clove cigarettes too? ; )

adam and theresa

These sound super yummy. Love them!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Oh these sound like such a perfect snack!

Simply Life

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