Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Walnuts Soaked in Honey

In her "On the Menu" column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday, January 29, 2012, China Millman sings the praises of walnuts, and especially the marriage of walnuts and honey.  She offers two great dessert recipes:  Grizzly Bear Pie, which sounds like a pecan pie made with walnuts, and Toffee Walnut Squares, both available by clicking on the link above.

She also mentions the Greek specialty:  walnuts soaked in honey.  Here's a great recipe for them--which makes a unique gift.  These can be used in a variety of ways:  serve with a nice log of goat cheese (or feta! or ricotta! or ricotta salata! or cheddar!) and crackers; pour onto vanilla ice cream; use as a topping for waffles or pancakes; or drizzle on yogurt or rice pudding.

1 cup of walnuts, toasted in a 325 degree oven (or a dry skillet) until fragrant--careful not to burn.
1 1/2 cups honey (classic summer honey works well here, especially since it'll show off the nuts).
Pour 3/4th cup of honey into a glass jar (or two glass jars).  Add the nuts and top with the remaining honey.  Seal the jar.  Will keep at room temperature for about 1 month.  Makes one 12-ounce jar or two 6-ounce jars.

Variation:  You can really play around with the flavors here.  Add a sprig of thyme or rosemary or a cinnamon stick.  Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes for some heat.  Add a handful of dried fruits.  You can also experiment with the nuts, using a combination of unsalted mixed nuts, or cashews or almonds (blanched would be best).


  1. I am going to have to read Millman's article! Walnuts and honey sound like a really great combo. I have a question about honey: what is the difference between raw honey and the "normal/regular" honey that you buy in a typical grocery store?

    -Alexandra Smith

  2. Ah! Great question, Alexandra--though not so easy to answer, primarily because there is no honey standard in the U.S. So, there isn't an official definition of "honey," let alone one for "raw honey." I wrote about that in a previous post: http://steffeswoodapiary.blogspot.com/2011/03/sorting-out-honey-terms.html (or search this blog for "raw honey"). Most "normal/regular" honey you can find in a typical grocery store is heated and filtered. The heating will melt any crystals in the honey and the filtering will get rid of fine particles. Heating and filtering slow the crystallizing process, which makes the honey more shelf stable. A lot of mass produced honey is imported (some of it illegally from China); there's a concern, too, that mass-produced honey might not be 100% honey.