This dish is on the menu at our house for any holiday, either traditional ones or those we invent! I first tasted it at a friend’s house years ago and had to have the recipe. I began serving it around the holidays when my family would visit and it was an immediate favorite. I will admit that my daughters haven’t developed much of a taste for it yet, although one of them likes to eat the jello off the top!
Whenever I made this in the past, I would crush my pretzels for the crust by putting them in a Ziploc bag and beating them with some kitchen instrument. While this was great for relieving any hidden frustrations, it usually resulted in a mess, since the bag inevitably developed little holes and left bits of pretzel crumbs scattered either on my counter on on the dish towel I would put under the bag. When I made this for Thanksgiving last month, I suddenly had the brilliant idea to put the pretzels in the blender (actually thought of a food processor first, but I don’t have one of those). Can I just tell you how much easier that made my life? They pulsed up perfectly and it was simple enough to rinse out the blender when I was done.
I have also found that it works best for me to allow plenty of time for each layer to fully set before adding the next. I try to make this ahead by doing the crust in the morning, the cream cheese layer around lunch time and the jello layer in the afternoon. If you have never tasted this, you should give it a try!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the pretzels, 4 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, beat the cup of sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.