I hope you had a great Thanksgiving – we sure did!
We always have Thanksgiving at Av’s mom & dad’s house, and I always get to make the desserts. This year, I made the hot fudge pie I made last year, and that was a *huge* hit. I made a pecan pie, and one of my favorite treats – strawberry pretzel salad. I think I’ve been making strawberry pretzel salad since high school, but there are a lot of people who have never heard of it before. Even though it’s called a “salad,” it’s really a dessert. For anybody that likes the combination of salty and sweet, it’s really, really good.
1 regular bag of pretzels (I think they are 9 ozs)
3/4 c. melted butter
3 tbsp sugar plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip
2 3-oz boxes of strawberry Jell-o
2 cups boiling water
frozen strawberries – you can use one bag or container, or two if you’re wild about them!
First, take the container of pretzels and crush them until they make nice, small pieces (you can hit them with a rolling pin, or just whatever!). Combine the pretzels with the 3 tbsp sugar, and all the melted butter into a large bowl. Mix well, then spread into a 9×13 pan (I love to use my pretty green Fire King pan, and it’s 8×8 I think, so I have a bit of the pretzel mix left over). Place the pan in a 400* oven for 8-9 minutes. Take it out and let the pretzel mixture cool.
While the pretzels are cooling, I add the cream cheese, Cool Whip, and the 3/4 cup sugar to my KitchenAid bowl. I had that mix until it was completely lump-free.
Once the pretzels are room-temperature, take a spatula and cover that layer with the cream cheese layer. The trick here is to get the cream cheese layer to be solid – that is, when you pour the jell-o over this later, you want to make sure there are no tiny spaces in the sides of the pan where the jell-o can seep into the bottom layer (which is disappointing later, because the pretzels get soggy!). Once this layer is spread out well, I put the pan into the refrigerator.
Next, I boil the 2 cups of water in a tea kettle, and add it to the 2 packages of jell-o, in a large bowl. That needs to be stirred for a couple of minutes so that all the jell-o is dissolved. After about 20 minutes of resting time, I add my frozen strawberries. Almost instantly, the jell-o starts looking like it will be setting soon.
I take a soup ladle and spread the strawberry mixture all over the top of the pan.
After just an hour or two in the refrigerator, it’s set (but I always make this the night before just in case…):