A classic dessert that tastes like longer days and warmer weather.
There are two types of reactions when I mention this dessert:
#1) Those who have never had it before have a “grossed out” look on their face and ask, “Strawberries and pretzels, together?! A salad for dessert?!”
#2) ALRIGHT! (insert fist pump) YES!!!! (That would be from those who have had it before.)
I admit that once upon a time, I was in the former category. My roommate was bringing a dessert to a summer BBQ we had been invited to and she offered me a taste of this ugly concoction she called food. She spooned out a small portion and heeded a warning: “It may sound weird and look gross, but it’ll be one of the best desserts you’ve ever had.”
Being the risk-taker that I was, I took a bite of the red, white, crumbly mess on my plate.
Oh my. I was in trouble.
She was SO right – it was one of the best desserts I’d ever had!
That was the first and only time I was fortunate enough to eat this scrumptious “salad” for several years, until my family and I were invited to a summer BBQ and asked to bring a dish. My taste buds remembered the creamy, cool goodness of my roommates dessert and I immediately sought to find the recipe.
As it turns out, this dessert isn’t entirely “new” to the world, it was just new to me. I’ve since added it to my repertoire of summer desserts and it’s requested nearly every BBQ we attend. Thanks Roomie!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
8oz cool whip, thawed
2 – 3oz pkgs strawberry Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
15-16oz pkg frozen strawberries
For the crust, combine pretzels, sugar and butter in a large bowl and mix well. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan with cooking spray and press the pretzel mixture firmly onto the bottom of the pan, aiming for full and even coverage. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the middle layer, combine cream cheese and sugar in a mixer and beat until very smooth. Fold in the cool whip and spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the top layer, whisk to combine jell-o and boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries. Pour over cream cheese layer and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- This is a luscious, rich dessert. You can substitute light or fat free cream cheese, light or fat free cool whip and/or sugar-free jell-o to lighten it up.
- If you desire to use less sugar, the crust can be reduced to 3 Tbsp and the middle layer can be reduced to 3/4 cup safely without greatly affecting the taste. I personally would not recommend reducing it any more than that.
- Buying whole frozen strawberries and quartering them provides a more “even” spread of berries than the pre-packaged sliced variety.
- Other flavor varieties are delicious too: cherries, peaches and mixed berries have all gone over very well!
Finally, be ready to either make another batch or provide the recipe. Most desserts last a couple days. Here is what this will look like after day one:Life as MOM, Lady Behind the Curtain, Eat at Home Cooks