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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I don't have any figs, fresh or dried, right now, but I do have dried apples, dried pears and dried currants (all home-dehydrated). I'll be trying this as soon as the new walnut crop comes in, which should be soon in Berkeley. Now, Heidi, c'mon: what else did you take on the plane with you to eat? It would make a fabulous blog post.

Sharyn Dimmick

This sounds lovely; I make a very similar recipe using cashews and it's fabulous atop grilled veggies and eaten alone as a snack. Love it, Heidi!

The Healthy Apple

These would be divine in salad with blue cheese and pears. I'm making them this weekend - thanks for sharing your recipe!


I too have been to the Greenbriar! It is a favorite family get-away location inherited from my husband's step-mother. In fact, I'm off there in a few weeks myself. Perhaps I'll make these wonderful looking walnuts for our trip!

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat)

Just curious dried or fresh rosemary? My rosemary plant s going bonkers and loving the cool autumn weather here in the foothills of Maryland. HS: Whatever you have Mia - fresh if you have it. Mine was actually making the move in the dried direction - out on my counter so long.


Oh, this looks delicious. I very much like the taste of rosemary, also in cakes. Good idea to combine it with nuts. Looking forward to reading about your next travel experience.


I love how you put dry fruit in this recipe. We loved candied nuts but haven't ever added dried fruit before. Love the photos from your trip too!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Thank you Heidi for the trip back in time that I lived up in the Blue Ridge Mountains but am now back home on the East Coast almost to Canadian Maritimes. Your recipies all inspire me. This one, I will need to swap out a different nut, I think pecans. Sounds lovely don't you think? All of your goodies are wonderful. This one is going to make me a wee bit more round in the middle :-)
HS: I think pecans would make a wonderful swap!

Beverly Jane

How wonderful! I grew up in West Virginia and live in California now. I love the Greenbrier and the Dorothy Draper interiors. It must have been beautiful this time of year. Thanks so much for your lovely website and continued inspiration. I always look forward to reading your posts.


may i use something else in place of the egg whites? melted coconut oil perhaps? looking forward to trying these... for some unknown readon, i have an unGodly number of dried figs in the pantry!!


My heart sank when I read the 2 egg white requirement. I am allergic to eggs - especially egg whites - raw or cooked. I understand the egg whites are the binder. Is there something else I could use? HS: You could do a skillet version with sugar and spices - minus the egg. Different, but still tasty.


How is this recipe tagged? Can I sustitute pecans or cashews and still have it go well with the Rosemary, or is there a better recipe for those nuts? Thank you! HS: Feel free to swap - either would be great.


I really like the idea of using rosemary in sweet recipes. Actually I really like the idea of using rosemary in EVERYTHING. Thanks


Everything looks so beautiful Heidi - and am intrigued by the flavour combination! x HS: Looking forward to seeing you soon Keiko!


I'm waiting for autumn. Those wonderful walnuts should call him here.


Ooo interesting combination!


I also want to thank you for the continuing inspiration. I dont have walnuts in the house, but I do have almonds. I also dont have dried figs (not yet, anyway, though I'm going to perhaps attempt to dry some of the fresh ones just starting ripen on the tree in the backyard), but I do have dates. Maybe I can make some switcheroos? I will definitely keep the rosemary though!

Jennifer @ Raisin Questions

LOVED seeing your pictures! I went to the Greenbrier with my parents when I was 6 years old. It was a special trip because my brothers didn't come along. That place was pure magic as a kid! One morning we woke up to the smell of chocolate and we found out that our room was right next to the kitchen where they made all the in house chocolates. Heaven! We got a little tour and they let us make a few. I also had my first buckwheat pancake there, and loved it. That carpet with the leaves brought back the most vivid memory of my dad looking for his tie for his conference. The indoor bowling alley & movie theater was pretty AWESOME too. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


It sounds like you had a lovely trip -- looks like such a quirky, magical place! What a great idea for a transportable snack, too -- DEFINITELY beats those airplane snacks they don't give you anymore :)

Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake

these do sound like the perfect travel snack. i love the greenbrier! i live not far from there - it's beautiful here.


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