I resisted making this recipe. I really did. As a general rule, I tend to avoid recipes whose ingredient list specifies particular branded food products, like Jell-O and Cool Whip. (I prefer to cook with food, as compared to food-products.) But, everywhere I looked today, this strawberry pretzel recipe was staring me in the face. Apparently, some version or another of this recipe has been around forever, though I’m just hearing about it now. Paula Deen even has a version she calls a Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I started to figure that all of these people must be on to something. I do love a good sweet and salty flavor match. Plus, it called for a ton of fresh strawberries, which I’ve got in spades. So, I decided I’d give it a try. And, you know what?? There’s a reason everyone seems to love this recipe so much. It’s really, very tasty! And, the pretzel crust is genius!
In the future, I’d try substituting fresh whipped cream for the Cool Whip and I’d probably skip the jello in lieu of simply scattering the berries on top of the cream cheese layer. Either way, it’s a fun summery treat!
Strawberry Pretzel Squares
For the crust:
- 2 cups finely-crushed Pretzels
- 3/4 cup Butter (a stick and a half), melted
- 1/4 cup Sugar
For the cream cheese filling:
- 1 1/2 packages of Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Milk
- 1 cup Cool Whip
For the jello layer:
- 2 (3 oz) packages of Strawberry flavored Jell-O
- 1 1/2 cup Boiling Water
- 1/2 cup Cold Water
- 4 cups Strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pretzel crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, beat the softened cream cheese with milk and sugar until well blended. Stir in the Cool Whip. Spread the mixture evenly over the pretzel crust. Refrigerate.
Empty jello packets into a bowl. Pour boiling water over the jello and stir until completely dissolved. Add cold water and stir. Refrigerate in the bowl, for about an hour, until jello just begins to set. Stir in sliced strawberries. Spread the jello mixture over the cream cheese layer.
Refrigerate for another 3 hours or until firm.
Slightly adapted from the Kraft Foods recipe found here.