Candied Rosemary Pecans - close up

Candied Rosemary Pecans

Chef Cindy Lazarenko
Cindy Lazarenko – photo by Curtis Trent

Nuts are seductive and these Candied Rosemary Pecans from my friend Cindy Lazarenko are certainly so. You start out with one but it quickly leads to another. Soon, there’s one cozied up to a morsel of cheese and a sip of wine. Before you know it, the bowl is naked and you’re left with a slight burning sensation on your lips and the bewilderment of how it all went by so fast. I find that’s true with a lot of the recipes Cindy shares.

Cindy is one of the subjects in the book Food Artisans of Alberta that I co-authored with my friend Tilly Sanchez. We met in 2013 at a writer’s workshop and have been friends ever since.

At that time, she was a recovering chef/restaurant owner. Her restaurant Culina Highlands made Enroute Magazine’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada and it was also featured on “You Gotta Eat Here.” She’d had great success but left the restaurant industry to spend more time with her young daughters. Still, she’s never stopped cooking, catering and teaching. She also started a design company called On Our Table with her husband, the designer, Geoff Lilge.

When we published Food Artisans in 2018, Cindy was managing catering and cooking lots with her brother Brad Lazarenko at Dogwood Cafe. He now owns Culina To Go in Edmonton.  Since then, a lot has changed. So, I thought I’d post this lovely recipe of hers and give you an update on this dynamic woman.


One of the most profound things that’s happened to Cindy and her family of late is the discovery of their Metis roots. While a large part of their heritage is Ukrainian, after a bit of research and conversations with key relatives, it came to light that their grandmother was Cree. Cindy has since claimed her Metis status and one of the most exciting things to come out of that is her exploration of Indigenous food and cooking. During 2020, she’s had some great opportunities to incorporate this in her professional life.

Norquest College asked Cindy to teach for their Foundations of Cooking course. Cindy takes great pleasure in the fact that this culinary program is the only one in Canada to include a module on Indigenous Canadian cooking. Further exploration of native culture led her to take a program offered by Indigenous tourism Alberta. And now, Cindy is working with the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation near Grand Cache, B.C. to meld traditional and contemporary native cuisine for their Indigenous tourism offerings.

Ever evolving, Cindy is one chef that I love to cook with. She’s got great taste buds. I always marvel at that little something extra she things to add to elevate a dish. The dash of paprika in the Candied Rosemary Pecans recipe that follows is a great example. I think there’s more talent in her little finger than most cooks ever achieve.

They say intuition is information that your brain has gathered from patterns and how you respond to things over time. Cindy’s cook’s intuition is a well-developed muscle. I look forward to the day when we can all hold the cookbook she’s writing in our hands. Until then, enjoy the seduction of this holiday treat from Cindy’s pantry.


Candied Rosemary Pecans

Candied Rosemary Pecans - close up


Great anytime of the year, these savoury treats are great on their own or as part of a cheese or charcuterie platter.

  • Author: Cindy Lazarenko
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizers/Snacks
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Canadian



¼ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon water

2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary finely chopped

Dash paprika

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the sugar and turn the heat to medium-high – stirring constantly – let mixture bubble away for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat down if necessary to keep from boiling over.
  2. Add the pecans and continue to cook until the syrup is dark golden brown. Add water to loosen the syrup and help sugar to dissolve if necessary.
  3. Add the rosemary and paprika and stir well.
  4. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and let cool completely.
  5. Break apart and store in an airtight container.
  6. Enjoy on their own or as part of a cheese and/or charcuteries platter.


Keywords: Candied Rosemary Pecans

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