We’ve hosted a New Year’s Day brunch annually since Milo was born, which made our 2016 Pretzel Party our sixth year! The idea began because we weren’t able to spend the whole evening out with a newborn and we knew our friends had the same dilemma. Our solution was to gather together mid-morning on the first and celebrate the New Year together kids and all!
Each year we choose a different, simple theme for the food (and usually include it as a pun on the invitation. Everybody loves a good pun!) After going around and around about ideas, we finally settled on serving fresh, hot, soft pretzels and dips, inviting people to “Start the New Year with a Twist!” Dave wanted to make sure I included the hashtag #tzelebrate on my photos of the event! Ha!
Buying all the soft pretzels for such a big open house wasn’t in the budget. Luckily, I’ve made them a bunch of times and really love my go-to soft pretzel recipe. I made six batches of dough, let it rise, shaped the pretzels, then froze them in layers onto parchment paper. That way in the morning I could thaw them out in the oven at 200, then do the baking soda bath before baking fresh for the party. It sounds like a lot of work, but the make-ahead process actually worked out amazingly well and we had about 80 fresh pretzels ready to go on time!
In addition to the big, soft pretzels, I also grabbed an assortment of hard pretzels from Trader Joe’s. Did you know there were so many? Peanut butter filled, yogurt dipped, dark chocolate thins, honey whole wheat rods, and on and on. It was a super fun assortment, and worked perfectly to fill little kiddo hands looking for another small snack to grab.
The dips were also from Trader Joe’s. The Pub Cheddar dip, salted caramel, chocolate fudge, and chocolate joe joes crunched into some cream cheese to make a cookies and cream dip. I also asked friends to bring either some fruit or a bottle of sparkling cider to share, so we had cuties, grapes, and berries as well as twenty varieties of juice to add to the Pretzel Party buffet. There’s not a whole lot I enjoy more than having my home filled with friends and good food, and our Pretzel Party 2016 was a hit. It feels good to start the year off doing something we love. Hopefully many more cozy gatherings ahead!