Warm Black Walnut Milk

We had a nice little cold snap here the other day.  It happens every year.  Come September, an endless string on 90+ degree days is interrupted by such a storm.  And somehow, it seems to break the back of summer, and the temperatures never get quite as hot again.

I don't do well in heat, and autumn is my favorite time of year.  So I don't need much of a cold snap to break out all of my cooler weather favorites, all of those things which say comfort to me.   Straight away, I've gotta cook beans with a smoked ham hock and cornbread, and meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  I get on my hands and knees and fish around under my bed for my slippers, as having cold toes is a bit of a shock.  And I simply must break out my favorite mug, the one made by one of my bestest buddies in college.  This isn't just any mug.  This mug is a thing of beauty, it's color, it's form, and it's handle are all delightful.  And that handle perfectly fits my finger, just like it did when I was 18 years old and sitting around a dorm room every night with my girls. Warm hands, warm memories, comfort.

So of course I've gotta fill my special mug with something yummy.  Despite my love of herbs, tea leaves me unsatisfied.  I'm not a chocolate lover, so hot chocolate isn't an option.  I'm sensitive to caffeine, so coffee after lunch is a bad idea.  So what's a girl to do when she wants something warm and satisfying in her mug?

It actually took me quite a few years to figure out the answer - warm milk.  It has a rich mouth feel, a slight sweetness, and leaves me utterly contented.  And might I add that it is also the best post-bike snack on a chilly day. 

I usually like my warm milk neat, no fussing around.  But I've come up with a way to make it even better, almost like having a gorgeous little dessert drink - add black walnuts.

Warm Black Walnut Milk

I'm guessing there are any number of ways to do this.  Here's what you need - whole milk, a spoonful of ground black walnuts, a small spoonful of maple syrup.  I like to crush my black walnuts into a fine powder while my milk and maple syrup are gently heating on the stove, and then whisk them in just before serving (add a splash of rum if you want a grown-up treat). Alternately, you could buzz them up in the food pro and add.  Or just add whole nuts to the milk, and blend it up with a blender.  Dead simple, any which way.

And killer good.  If you're lucky enough to have a good quantity of black walnuts, don't stop at sipping this milk as a treat.  Use it in any number of recipes - breads, cookies, panna cotta, pudding, tarts, etc.


I created this recipe for the Wild Things round up.  Wild Things is a foraging recipe challenge, and you are invited to participate!  Do you have a favorite black walnut recipe that you'd like to share?  Perhaps you'd like to try something you've bookmarked in a cookbook?  Or you have a great recipe in your archives?  Send your link to wildthings.roundup@gmail.com before the end of the month, and see it included in the round up!

I'm sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop, and Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.


  1. This sounds incredible! I grew up with a black walnut tree (and Englich walnut, and almond trees) and I never knew about making black walnut milk. It sounds delicious and perfect for an evening when you need something warm, but don't want any caffeine. Thanks for sharing this recipe and your adventures with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  2. I love hot milk.
    I usually make hot almond milk.
    I've never thought of hot walnut milk but it sounds great!!
    Unfortunetly I can't seem to find any black walnuts over here, where it's called walnut from America!

  3. Ok, two things. First of all, this sounds really really ridiculously good. And when it cools down here (I thought it had but it was in the 90s again yesterday) I can't wait to try it. And second, I love that photo. And the mug. And the nice wooden thing. And the basket of walnuts. Is that what your walnuts look like after you shell them? Do you rinse all the crap off? Mine look slimy and gross, and now they're dried slimy and gross.

  4. Haha, the light was really good on my front porch that day. Thanks :)

    That's what the walnuts look like if you let the hulls dry completely, then remove them. I had been keeping a tiny box of walnuts from my bucket last year for a special occasion.

  5. Great idea! We have a black walnut tree but I'm too afraid to try the walnuts. I'm allergic to pine nuts and butternuts, and I'm afraid I would be allergic to them as well. I'm a chicken! haha! But my husband eats them and he loves warm milk so I will keep this in mind when they are ready to harvest.

  6. What do you think of black walnut nocino and warm milk? Probably no maple syrup, as nocino is sweet and bitter at the same time.

  7. Mmm, sounds good and that mug is definitely a thing of beauty. I sometimes add a dash of pure black walnut extract to my milk and it's dark and delicious. I think this would be even better though it is a challenge to get the black walnuts. I do occasionally see tiny bags at the grocers for exorbitant amounts of money. Oh btw, your link at Real Food Wednesday - you linked back to the roundup, not your post. Good thing you commented too!

  8. That does sound good... My mom in CT was just mentioning that the hurricane knocked down some early season black walnuts and I have for years been trying to get her to collect them, and acorns, for me, as they grow in abundance at my childhood home but not up here at 11,000 feet in the Rockies. Too bad I wasn't the forager growing up then that I am now. I like your mug and your writing very much, Butter.

  9. I like the autumn too, I just wish it wasn't so wet in England! Instead of cold and crisp, we get damp and soggy :) Your warm black walnut milk sounds so lovely and comforting. I've never had black walnuts, but I can imagine how delicious and nutty they would make it. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop :)


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