I am no stranger to Tom Haverford’s Treat Yo Self (video below). In fact, I strive for Cashmere-Velvet Candy Cane status. It feels good sometimes to just say “Yes!” to whatever it is you want, because let’s face it–you deserve it.
With that said-and please bear in mind that I am going to Florida on vacation TOMORROW, and therefore am extremely biased when it comes to how easy it is to be filled with joy-I am starting to think it might be the little things that make all the difference. You see, I have been having strange luck lately. It’s been a long winter, full of food poisoning upon sinus infection upon horrible reactions to antibiotics upon colds upon exhaustion upon ohmygoddidthisjusthappen? upon ohmygoddidthisjusthappenontopofthat?
…And I admit that I have not handled all of it gracefully. But with all of those frustrations and tests to my patience, it has been the small moments that really made me feel better. Sure, I have Tom Haverford-ed in the process (a bath caddy that holds up your book and your glass of wine while you bathe, anyone?), and you had better believe that the new purse I ordered myself arrived on my porch with a postcard that read,
Treat Yo Self.”
The thing is, when I think about the moments that really made me feel better, it was Daniel surprising me with more of my new favorite cold press, or waking up to my cat, Arthur, curled up next to my shoulder when I didn’t feel well. It was looking at pictures of pugs dressed up for Valentine’s Day and admiring how silly cats look mid-sneeze. It was finding Cadbury Mini Eggs in the store at last, and the plunk of my March 2014 Bon Appetit arriving at my door step, with an entire section dedicated to buttermilk.
For those of you who may not know, buttermilk is probably my favorite ingredient. It adds rich, tangy flavor and great moisture to any recipe. So of course I had to try making fudge with it. The buttermilk caramelizes into its sweet, decadent counterpart, with just the right amount of bite to remind you of its origin. The delicate crunch of the pecans and the light dusting of Maldon salt perfectly complement the buttermilk base, transporting you to a humid, summer day in the American South. This is an admittedly rich recipe, but each little bite is a nostalgic respite from our wintry reality, a reminder that wonderful things can come in the smallest of packages.
Pecan Buttermilk Fudge
Recipe from Bon Appetit*
1 cup pecans
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon honey
⅛ teaspoon salt
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×5” loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides; set aside. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Heat sugar, buttermilk, butter, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until butter and sugar are melted, about 3 minutes. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature; when the thermometer registers 238° (this takes 6-8 minutes, and the mixture will be pale golden and smell faintly of toffee), immediately remove from heat. Pour mixture into a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until cool and thickened (it will be stiff and matte), 5–8 minutes. Fold in pecans. Scrape fudge into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit at least 1 hour before cutting into pieces. Fudge can be made 1 week ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
*I have, however, adapted the wording.