Make Ahead

Sage-Candied Walnuts

January  5, 2012
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes a baking-sheet full
Author Notes

I have never been a particular fan of nuts. Cashews were all right in my book, but pecans? Walnuts? I didn't want them muddying up my breads and cookies. Everything changed after I tried The Nut Box's candied pecans. Glorious! I think the word "addiction" is appropriate, and now I find myself giving all nuts a second look. All I know about the pecans are the ingredients: butter, sugar and salt. This is my take on them, using sage and walnuts. (I got the egg white tip from Smitten Kitchen). —Cristina Sciarra

Test Kitchen Notes

This is the kind of adult walnut confection that should be served at your favorite cocktail bar. Don't be afraid to up the sage by half or reduce the sugar a little depending on your taste. Either way, you'll be munching on these til kingdom come. Highly addictive. —favabean

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons sage, finely chopped
  • 5 cups walnuts
  • 1 egg white, beaten until a little stiff
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • a generous sprinkling of sea salt
  1. In a medium pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the finely chopped sage, and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg white. Add the walnuts, and toss. Add the maple syrup and the butter, and incorporate. Add the sugars, and toss until the walnuts are evenly coated.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300F. Spread the walnuts evenly on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cook the walnuts for 30 minutes, breaking them up about every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Jharna Hogan
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  • Bevi
  • vrunka
  • mdm
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at

25 Reviews

shoepershopper September 25, 2022
Yummm!!! I used these as a topping for some roasted Brussels sprouts, onions and apples for a Rosh Hashanah side dish. This is the PERFECT fall topper (or snack!) I'm definitely going to be using these for a topper for my Thanksgiving stuffing, topping on butternut squash soup and even some yummy fall salads. Thank you so much. Definitely don't forget to stir the walnuts as they cook. So glad I re-read the instructions half-way through the cooking process.
Karen B. August 24, 2022
What a great combination of flavors.
Jharna H. November 24, 2016
Making these now, they smell amazing! Planning to serve them as part of a cheese platter, and as an accompaniment to a Maple Brown Sugar Pumpkin ice cream I made last night.
Connie B. January 19, 2016
These are fabulous! The only addition I made was a heavy sprinkling of cayenne pepper stirred in with the sugars. So good, it's really hard to stop eating!
Cristina S. January 20, 2016
That sounds like a great addition!
cosmiccook July 22, 2015
I take it the egg white should be beaten only a little; before soft peaks?
calangus February 5, 2015
Can this be made with dried sage? i almost always have dried sage in my cabinet.
chez_mere February 5, 2015
That should work fine if you reduce the amount to about 1/2 a Tablespoon and add it to the mix by rubbing it into the sugars with you fingertips instead of frying it in the butter
pen_drifter December 21, 2014
These are so fantastic. I'm using them as Winter solstice gifts this year.
Katie November 22, 2014
How long will these stay fresh once made?
Cristina S. November 23, 2014
Hi Katie, I haven't tested that, but I imagine at least 1 week.
Bevi October 27, 2014
Yum! Am making these for gifts for sure!
Cristina S. October 28, 2014
Thanks, Bevi! I hope you will!
Karen March 10, 2014
I need my toddler to eat more walnuts, these are a. hit!!!
I am going to try ground mustard instead of the ginger.
vrunka November 27, 2013
Oh, man, these are great. And easy, too. I saw the recipe highlighted on Food52 less than an hour ago and now I'm sitting in the kitchen trying not to eat them all.
Cristina S. November 27, 2013
Ha, excellent! I haven't made these in a while, but I think I will pull them out for the holidays.
Alicia V. May 3, 2013
Could I do this with Pecans? Walnut allergy... :(
Cristina S. May 4, 2013
Hi Alicia, I'm not sure how sage and pecans will taste together, but no harm in trying! Also, for pecans, I'm crazy about this recipe:
mdm January 11, 2013
So delicious! Made a ton over the holidays, thank you!
Cristina S. January 11, 2013
I'm so glad you liked them!
chez_mere November 29, 2012
Any ideas for how almonds would be?
Cristina S. November 29, 2012
Hm. I might not use sage for almonds. I might try brown sugar, cinnamon, or even cayenne. I think I've seen honey and rosemary. Let me know how it turns out!
CharlotteR April 4, 2012
I made these this weekend and they were very well received. Next time I will double the sage and reduce the white sugar to around 1/2 cup. Thanks for the good and easy recipe - the sage and walnuts are a tasty combination.
hardlikearmour January 5, 2012
These look gorgeous!
Cristina S. January 5, 2012
Thanks! I am trying very hard not to eat them all! :)