Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Okay, okay. I know this post is much overdue. But I have a good excuse! I was getting ready for Norooz and couldn’t post this… for three months. Sorry!

Now that I’m here and posting and all, I will tell you that you will not be disappointed. This is a foolproof dessert, one that I have made over and over with a variety of cream cheeses and fruits… and all of which turned out splendidly. I can, in all confidence, guarantee that yours will too!

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The above picture shows two batches of this “salad”. One with pomegranates in a 9″ x 13″ pan, and the other with mandarin oranges in a 9″ pie dish. I’ll list both the original recipe meant for the 9″ by 13″ with the adjusted recipe meant for the pie dish for your baking pleasures.

Fabulous Pretzel Salad

9″ x 13″ version:
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) regular salted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 (8 oz)  packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 oz) package flavored Jell-O (I like to match the flavor to the fruit I’m using)
2 cups boiling water
About 1 1/2 cups fruit of your choosing

9″ pie dish version:
1 cup crushed pretzels
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1  stick) regular salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (8 oz)  packages cream cheese
2/3 of an 8 oz container whipped topping, thawed
1/2 of a 6 oz package flavored Jell-O (I just make a full package and just pour the leftovers into another bowl and eat it later)
1 cup boiling water
About 1 cup fruit of your choosing

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a good handful of pretzels into a ziplock baggy.

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2. Crush ’em. Crush ’em good.

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3. Now, take the pretzels you’ve so painstakingly crushed and throw ’em in a bowl.

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4. To the crushed pretzely goodness, add in your sugar and stir around to incorporate evenly. This is going to help caramelize the outsides of the pretzels and get that wonderfully toasty taste.

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5. To your wonderful pretzel-sugar combo, add in your melted butter. Yes, all of it. Don’t be shy. You need every drop! Stir to coat all the pretzels evenly.

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6. Now, dump the whole thing out into your dish. This time, I’m using my trusty 9″x13″. Who knows what I’ll do next time. I live on the edge like that.

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7. Now, using your fingers or the bottom of a cup, press down the pretzel mixture firmly to form an even crust. This will ensure that your crust will be more crust-y and won’t fall apart as easily when you cut into it later.

Also, lose a diamond off your ring and have to send it in for repairs so that, for a month, you get to feel awesome in just your wedding band. Go ahead, all the cool kids are doing it.

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8. ta-da! Your crust should be nice and smooth. Place that sucker into the oven for 10-15 minutes. I like to leave it in for 15 to get a nice toasty taste, but 10 minutes will do the trick in not having it fall apart.

Once you remove it from the oven, let it cool COMPLETELY. I stick it in the freezer because I’m impatient as I assemble the rest.

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9.  Take out your two softened packages of cream cheese and place them in a bowl.

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10. To that, add in your sugar. I promise you, despite what you may be thinking,  this dessert isn’t that sweet. I’ve used full fat cream cheese as well as the low fat stuff. It doesn’t make a difference in the end.

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11. Mix those two until smooth.

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12. To the cream cheese mixture, add in your whipped cream. I’ve used homemade whipped cream and regular whipped topping from a container and I can honestly say that  the difference was negligible. Do what feels right.

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13. Spread the cream cheese mixture over your totally cooled crust. Then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set.

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14. Prepare your Jell-O according to the package instructions. I know I wrote 2 cups of boiling water, but I always use 1/2 cup boiling and 1 1/2 cups cold water to make mine since the Jell-O sets a whole lot quicker that way. Place in the freezer to quicken the solidifying while you chop up your fruit.

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15. Today, I am using strawberries to place on top of my pretzel salad. You could just as easily use any other fruit. Just cut them up to your desired thickness.

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16. Take your Jell-O out of the freezer and drop in your fruit. You may need to set it back into the freezer to let it set a bit more. Just don’t let it set all the way. You want it cool but still runny for easy spreading.

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17. Spread the Jell-O right over the cream cheese mixture and try to get them as evenly dispersed as possible. Put it in the fridge and let the gelatin set all the way and the instant that happens, remove and enjoy!

Happy eating!

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