There’s only one thing that is as powerful as my sweet tooth, these days, and its my SALT tooth. Is that a thing? Because it should be?
Seriously, put a plate of french fries in front of me and they’re gone. Or a loaf of bread with salted butter. Forget about it! The only problem is, if left to my own devices, I will eat all of it! By myself! Not good.
So, instead of keeping all the salty goodness to myself this time, I thought I gather up a few friends for a game night meet up with finger foods for all. I’m always looking for an excuse to gather with friends anyway, so this seemed like the perfect excuse. Pretzels anyone?
I partnered with Gather, a Tumblr by Clorox that inspires/ cultivates great excuses for gathering with friends, to share my game night gathering inspiration, along with a (super delicious) recipe for homemade twisted ranch pretzels and sriracha marinara.
My favorite games to play with friends are classics…mainly card games and a little bit of dominoes. By the way, I started collecting interestingly designed decks of cards and it is so much fun! This neon set is my favorite so far (from here). And I just set them out on our dining table, so they were ready to go from the start.
Finger foods are a nice go-to option to keep things easy. So I put together some raw veggies in mini baskets, in addition to the pretzels, to balance things out. And speaking of pretzels, here’s the recipe in case you want to make your own…
Twisted Ranch Pretzels Recipe (makes about 16)
– 1 oz package Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
– 2 packages pizza dough (store-bought)
– 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
– flour, for dusting work surface
– extra butter for brushing on top, melted (optional)
– sesame seeds for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the butter and ranch dressing mix. Use a fork to mix thoroughly.
Cut each package of pizza dough in half, creating four balls of dough in total.
Dust the work surface with flour and, using the rolling pin, roll out the first ball of dough into a large rectangle. Spread the butter mixture onto the dough.
Starting from one edge, roll up the pizza dough into a log shape. When looking at the dough from the side, you should see a spiral of dough. Pinch the dough together along the long edge to close it.
Using your hands, roll out the dough into a long rope-like piece. Then cut the dough along the length of the rope into 4 equal strips. Cut each of those strips in half to make them shorter (which will give you 8 total strips per pizza dough). Then twist or roll each strip into a slightly longer section again, so you have enough length to make the pretzel shape.
Move the strips of dough to the baking sheet and twist each strip into a pretzel shape. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Brush with butter and top with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Sriracha Marinara Sauce
Combine 1 cup marinara sauce (store-bought) with 2 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (adjust to taste) together in a small bowl and serve.
Recipe by Linda Jednaszewski
Concept, styling, and photography by Brittni Mehlhoff
What kinds of things do you like to do when you gather with friends?
This post is is partnership with Gather. Be sure to visit Gather on Tumblr for more inspiration to create your own excuses to gather with friends! Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper & Stitch running.