Monday, April 2, 2012

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This recipe is linked up at the Country Cook!





The perfect combo.

There are two rules for this salad.  One: make it the day you eat it, or it will be soggy and will not live up to its potential as one of the best things at your party.  Two: make sure the Jello/strawberry mixture is almost set before you pour it on, otherwise it won't stay on top where it belongs.

And one more thing.  My mom has been making this for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember, and it would not be okay if it did not make its annual appearance on our Thanksgiving table.  It's festive!  PLUS, there's a bonus here.  This salad could easily double as a dessert, and you know how I feel about eating dessert for salad.  Ahem.

Okay, so if you live in the South, you've had this salad.

If you don't, you should make it and introduce your friends to its sweet/salty, crunchy/creamy deliciousness.

Here's the crust:

pretzels, butter, sugar.  A good foundation for almost anything.

The middle layer:

cream cheese, (more) sugar, and Cool Whip.

The top:

strawberry jello and frozen sliced strawberries.  Remember: almost set before you pour them on top!  Otherwise you end up with jello on the bottom and cream cheese on the top, and it's just all wrong.

I've done it, so I know.  Now I let my Jello mixture almost congeal completely before topping the salad with it.  It should look like this

And it's perfect!  And absolutely delicious.

You should make this for Easter.  I made it for our annual Palm Sunday family day at my aunt and uncle's house, and I brought home a clean dish.

And yes, I got up early on Sunday morning to make it (see Rule 2 above).  It's that important.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
Two 3-oz. packages Strawberry-flavored Jello
2 cups pineapple juice
24 oz. frozen sliced sweetened strawberries, still frozen

For the crust, mix together the crushed pretzels, butter and sugar in a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread into an even layer and press lightly in the bottom.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool completely.

For the creamy layer, mix together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain.  Carefully fold in the Cool Whip until combined, but do not deflate the Cool Whip.  Spread evenly on the cooled crust.

For the Jello layer, heat the pineapple juice until almost boiling.  Stir in the Jello packets and stir until dissolved.  Add the frozen sliced strawberries and stir until the strawberries are broken up and evenly distributed (I use a fork to stab the strawberries and stir them up).  Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, until the Jello is mushy and almost set.  It should not be runny at all.  Pour on top of the cream cheese layer and refrigerate for another two hours, until completely set.  Cut into squares and serve.


Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law makes this for me often and I just LOVE it! Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to make it for myself, but I'm not counting on it!


Elizabeth said...

You can definitely do it, Aletta. :) I used to think it was daunting, too, but after you do it once or twice it's easy!