Crazy for Crust

May 17

Maple Walnut Butter with Pie Crust Chips

Walnuts are super healthy for you, so why not celebrate National Walnut Day with some homemade Maple Walnut Butter with Pie Crust Chips?

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I got to go on a field trip! One with other adults. No school buses, no whining children. An adult field trip!

I totally want to tell you all about this amazing, fantabulous, to die for Maple Walnut Butter. But hang on, I want to talk about walnuts first, mmmkay?

Today, May 17, is National Walnut Day. To celebrate, the California Farm Water Coalition invited me and a few other local Sacramento bloggers to accompany them on a Walnut Farm tour. Did you know that walnuts grown in California account for 99% of the commercial U.S. supply? And that they provide 70% of the world trade?

And so many of the orchards are right in my back yard!

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Along with the Farm Water Coalition and my new friend Melissa from Pretty Yummy Foods, we headed to Winters to visit Lester Farms. Stan Lester and his family have been farming since the 1800s, and settled in Winters in the mid 1900s. Our tour was actually given by Todd, who runs another walnut farm locally, Ramos Farms. His family has been at it since the 1930s.

I’ve driven past orchards all my life. Up and down I-5 and U.S. 101 on the way to LA and up to Oregon and Washington. I’ve never thought too much about them except to wonder what they grow.

I bet a lot of them are growing walnuts!

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This is the orchard we got to see. It’s kind of magnificent up close.

It takes a lot of water to keep these trees alive – and for good reason. Our farms are one of the top users of water in the state, but they are also the top conservationists. The food they grow is the food we eat. As the California Farm Water Coalition says…Food Grows Where Water Flows!

Without water going to these farms we would have no food. California is a huge crop producing state – and they produce crops for so many places in the country. Like Walnuts!

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Walnuts have a green shell when they are on the tree. There are so many kinds of walnut trees and each one has it’s own rules for growth: amount of water needed, amount of sunlight needed. During harvest in the fall, the walnuts come off the trees looking like this:

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I cannot imagine working an orchard before the technology they use today. Today they have a machine to shake the trees, to sweep up the walnuts that have shaken to the ground, and even one to “vacuum” them up. Before all that they had to pick them up – by hand.


After our tour of the orchard, we got to go into Winters and have lunch at the Lester Bakery. OMG people, if you ever get to go to Winters, California, GO THERE FOR LUNCH.


I seriously wanted one of everything. Those maple things on the bottom left were as big as my head.

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We got to have dessert before lunch. This was my favorite part, obvi. Brownies with walnuts, oat bars with walnuts, and walnut shortbread with frosting in the middle. (FYI – those WILL be copycatted. Just wait…)

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After lunch we got to visit the Mariani Nut packaging plant. Mariani’s takes in the walnuts from the growers in the area. They come in the shell, with the green outside removed. Then they remove the shells, sort the nuts, and package them to sell.


Did you know that “blonde” walnuts are more liked than the darker ones? The machines can actually sort out the darker walnut pieces. That’s kind of amazing.

Mariani’s packages their own brand (if you shop here locally in Sacramento, you may have seen them at Raley’s). But they also package for another store you might recognize:

walnut collage

Costco! Those huge bags of walnuts in Costco (at least in my area) are actually packaged locally. You can even tell where they were packaged by looking at that number on the back under the expiration date. the “M” means they were packaged at Mariani’s. (They package the Kirkland Almonds too!)

I was floored when Matt Mariani handed me this huge bag of walnuts to bring home with me. Like, score!

So of course, I need to make something yum for National Walnut Day!

I thought about making something sugary and drippy sweet. But, something else I learned on my field trip is how healthy walnuts are. Like, really!

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Walnuts have a heart-healthy check mark from the American Heart Association.

They are full of omega-3s and other things that are good for you (like Vitamin E).

Walnuts have been studied and shown to reduce the risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes in women.

And, something I totally understand all the big words for, walnuts can improve a man’s reproductive health. Vitality, motility, and morphology can all be improved with walnuts.

So I figured I should make something healthy (today). Don’t worry, drippy, sweet, ooey-gooey walnuts will be coming soon.

I loved the Oreo Peanut Butter I made, so I decided to make Walnut Butter, with maple. Because I looove maple walnut anything!

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Of course, I made pie crust chips too. They are very reminiscent of the pie crust dippers and the pie crust tortilla chips. The perfect way to eat the maple walnut butter!

I toasted my walnuts, because I like that better. (Plus, if you’ve ever found that eating lots of raw walnuts hurts your mouth, toasting them will take care of that problem.)

The butter comes together super easy, just like the peanut butter.  I added maple syrup and some salt during the processing, and a little oil because the nuts aren’t as oily as peanuts. Run it through your food processor for a few minutes and it becomes a wonderful thing to spread on toast, pie crust crackers, or eat on a spoon.

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Eating it on a spoon…something I’ve been doing a loooot since Monday!

Maple Walnut Butter & Pie Crust Chips

Yield: 1 cup walnut butter; about 24 pie crust chips

Maple Walnut Butter & Pie Crust Chips

Maple Walnut Butter is a nut butter made with Walnuts! Perfect for any meal, this walnut butter will satisfy your hunger.


    Walnut Butter
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, optional
  • Pie Crust Chips
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or granulated sugar (optional)


    For the Maple Walnut Butter
  1. To toast walnuts (this is optional, but I like my walnuts toasted), place them in a frying pan over low heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring almost constantly. As soon as you notice little brown spots and/or smell the walnuts, remove from heat and place on a plate to cool. Make sure they are almost completely cool before continuing.
  2. Place walnuts in a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, then stir and add salt and maple syrup. Process another minute or two, adding oil if you want a thinner consistency. Add more salt according to your preferences.
  3. Store in refrigerator; makes 8 ounces.
  4. For the Pie Crust Chips:
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat baking mat.
  6. Unroll pie crust and, using a cookie cutter, cut rounds of dough. Re-roll as necessary. Depending on size, you’ll get about 24 rounds.
  7. Lay on your cookie sheet and use your finger to lightly coat with maple syrup, or sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  8. Bake 10 minutes, cool before serving.

Connect with the California Water Farm Coalition:

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Thanks for reading about my Walnut Orchard Field Trip!

Hey! While I have you…I want to remind you that I have donated some Oreo Peanut Butter Popcorn to Baking for Kate, an online bake sale and auction for Kate, a mom of three who is suffering from Stage IV Breast Cancer. Find all the details on the Baking for Kate Facebook Page! The auction runs this weekend!


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This post may be linked to: Chef in TrainingLil’ LunaBuns In My OvenChic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff Saturday, Weekend PotluckWeekend Wrap Up PartySundae Scoop Link Partyand all of these too!

I was invited on this tour by the California Farm Water Coalition. I received transportation and food, as well as walnuts to bake with. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

88 comments on “Maple Walnut Butter with Pie Crust Chips

  1. Had no idea it was Natl Walnut Day and what an informative post about the farm tour! And that butter…mmm, that looks so good. And the chips – maple, cinn-sugar, yum!

  2. What a fun trip! I but all my nuts at Costco in those big bags, now I will think of you and your field trip! And this walnut butter sounds delicious Dorothy!!

  3. I didn’t know it is national walnut day! Sounds like an awesome trip! The bakery treats look wonderful! I never had walnut butter, but it sounds great!

  4. Wow! I hade no idea is was national walnut day and I basically knew none of that info! What an informative post!

    This nut butter is blowing my mind and pie chips, really?? Your are awesome!

  5. You mind reader! We just got a ton of walnuts and I was telling mom how I was going to make walnut butter! I really like the maple added and the chips are so creative. I am going to use this recipe!

  6. Maple Walnut Butter sounds amazing! Have a great weekend Dorothy!

  7. Any chance that I have to sneak in some pie crust sounds good to me!!!

  8. YUM, I can’t wait to try it. Sounds like you had a good day and really scored with all the treats and that bag of walnuts.
    See you soon, Mom

  9. Oh my! This looks so creamy and divine! And those pie chips…’re killing me. Glad it was such a fun trip!

  10. I also love maple walnut anything! Will have to try this!!

  11. this nut butter looks delicious…I never thought about using walnuts, but maple and walnut is a fantastic combo! and pie chips…YUMMY

  12. So we call this a total foodie experience! Only foodies appreciate something like this!!! So cool! Never seen a walnut growing on a tree before!!!

    When we went to Hawaii, we went to a macadamia nut processing plant!! We were in heaven!!

    Dont know if we told you but we are leaving to Paris on Wednesday and are sooo excited about a croissant class we are taking.. Everyone has looked at us and said you go to paris to eat croissants not make them!! lol Cant wait to share our story!

  13. I’m from central California, and your pictures made me so homesick! The recipe for maple walnut butter looks lovely. I’ll have to try that this summer!

  14. Wow, that’s such a wonderful experience! I’ve never thought of making nut butter out of walnuts but it sounds wonderful!

  15. Great post, Dorothy! I love the fact that you got to go on an adult field trip….and that you shared your experience with all of us! The walnut butter looks awesome….and so easy. Who knew!?

  16. I don’t think I’ve had walnut butter yet! I wonder if it would be good made with candied walnuts?

  17. Love this! I’m drooling and will totally be making this. That’s the bag of walnuts I get from Costco, so yay. I had no idea that you lived in my area – I’m in Roseville! Thanks for sharing the deliciousness. :)

  18. I’m so addicted to walnuts. And I just happen to love pie crust chips, so this is a match made in heaven!

  19. What an interesting tour of how walnuts are made! And this butters looks awesome.

  20. I love how affordable walnuts are compared to pecans and almonds in the regular grocery store. Pinning this!

    And one day, i’ll make all of this stuff of yours that I’ve pinned in the last few weeks. :)

  21. diggin’ the pie chips. And so many health benefits to walnuts. who knew! I need to make a trip to our local costco now. :)

  22. The pie crust chips are brilliant! Love that idea!! Sounds like you had a wonderful experience at the farm. Your pictures are amazing. :)

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  24. What a delicious snack!

  25. You are like the most creative person EVER! I never would have thought about this – it all looks amazing!

  26. Oh my god, pie chips is a crazy awesome idea! If only I weren’t allergic to nuts…

  27. Wow this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!!!

  28. You are brilliant! I have a bag of walnuts sitting in the pantry begging to be used up this weekend….I think I know what they are destined for now.

  29. Winters has walnut orchards?? How did I not know this? And thank you for the tip about the bakery!! I’m always looking for new pastry places to try, so I’ll have to head out there soon.

    Your maple walnut butter sounds so good! But my mom is really allergic to walnuts, so would it be possible to modify it using pecans instead? And those pie crust chips are just brilliant and so cute!

    • Hi Amy! I’ve never made it with anything besides peanuts, but I bet you can TOTALLY do it with pecans. They’re next on my list. Just process the nuts plain until they’re smooth before adding oil. I’m not sure how much oil will need to be added to pecans, so do a little bit at a time, and taste test for salt! :)

      • Great minds must think alike! I’ll have to try out the pecans using that new blender I bought online. Now I just have to wait for it to ship!

  30. You had me at pie crust chips! Very cool field trip. And I love the idea of the walnut butter. I bet it’s delicious.

  31. Oh my deliciousness Dorthy, I love the thought of Maple Walnut Butter! My Granny always made Pie Chips with sprinkles or cinnamon sugar when I was a kid with the leftover pie dough! So very delicious! Waste not want not!

  32. Since it is healthy for us, I think we should all indulge!!! And I seriously need to move back to California. I have been taunted by blogger farm trips all week :) Thanks for sharing another awesome recipe Dorothy!

  33. Pie chips and walnut butter?! Sign me up! They sound delicious!

  34. I don’t think I’ve ever had walnut butter. But I bet it’s delicious, especially with maple syrup as an ingredient!

  35. Pie crust chips sound like the greatest thing ever. Going to make this very very soon!

  36. Your adult field trip looks super fun! I didn’t truly understand the awesomeness of walnuts before! 😉

  37. What a fun trip! On one trip up I-5 to Oregon, I saw an orchard that had a sign “Allmonds” hanging on the fence … I believe all orchards and fields should be labeled, inquiry minds want to know :) Love and saved the recipe!

    • YES. They should TOTALLY be labelled. I’ve always thought that too!

      • I love the idea of signs on farms and ranches, to help educate people and let them know “what’s growing on”. But as a farmer with a small walnut orchard, I have a hard enough time with people helping themselves to my orchard. Stealing isn’t cool; especially since we work all year for one paycheck. You’d be surprised at how often it happens. But I’m grateful for great blog posts showing wonderful examples of how to use delicious California walnuts! I’m looking forward to trying out the pie chips with my walnut butter

      • I think it’s horrible people would steal!! That’s so wrong. Enjoy the butter, it’s one of my favorites!

  38. You amaze me with what you come up with…just sayin :-) What a great idea to turn walnuts into a healthy maple butter!!! And with pie chips…so you :-) I love it!!!!

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  40. I feel like I have learned so much from this post! It’s so freaking cool this is all in your area. I wish I could find something like that around here. I’m glad you had so much fun on your trip! You made me feel like I was there! Thanks!!

    Oh, the walnut butter… Hell yeah, I want some! Gotta try that out. With the maple syrup.. man, it sounds good!

  41. Look at you and your ‘walnut knowledge’! 😉 I always buy those big bags at Costco and can’t wait to go look to see where they are from; thanks for the fun tip! Oh yea and this butter…sounds amazing!

  42. This looks like such a delicious snack! I’m not sure I am handy enough to make them- but I’d sure love to taste it!!

  43. First of all…oh my! That looks crazy good.
    Second… you are a super genius.
    Third… Our mother LOVES anything maple walnut so I think I now know how to become her favorite child. 😉 This is happening as soon as I can get my hands on some walnuts! Thank you for sharing this!! :)

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