A strawberry and pretzel treat for sunny summer days |
It’s that time of year when we’re all looking for ways to enjoy the long sunny days after work instead of rushing home to cook dinner. Before long, we will be frequenting the region’s farmers’ markets and roadside farm stands. Strawberries are in season right now and they’re plentiful at local grocery stores.
When I am asked to bring a dish to a potluck or a summer barbecue, I sometimes have a hard time thinking of the perfect dish to bring. With Memorial Day fast approaching, the recipe below is a great idea to bring to your next gathering. The recipe is quite old, and I honestly didn’t think I would like it, so I never tried it until recently. My son-in-law, Levi, asked me to make this for Easter because it’s his favorite dessert. I was surprised how much I loved the taste contrasts between the sweet cream cheese layer and the salty taste of the pretzels. It’s best to make it a day or two ahead and let it sit in the fridge to soften the pretzels. It takes several steps to prepare, but the time is worth it. Try it at your next gathering and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Greg Morgan lives in Anniston. His culinary column appears on the first Wednesday of each month. Find all her recipes on her website, Atasteofdownhome.com. Contact him at email@example.com
STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
- 6 ounces strawberry Jell-O
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 ½ cups salted pretzels, measured before crushing
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces of Cool Whip
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine Strawberry Jell-O with two cups of boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Crush 2 ½ cups of pretzels in a sturdy Ziploc bag using a rolling pin.
In a medium saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons butter, then add ¼ cup sugar and stir. Combine crushed pretzels. Transfer to a 13×9 glass casserole dish, pressing the pretzel mixture evenly onto the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 minutes at 350. Then cool to room temperature.
When the pretzels have cooled, use an electric hand mixer to beat 8 ounces of cream cheese and ½ cup of sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and white. Stir in 8 ounces of Cool Whip until no traces of cream cheese remain. Spread the mixture over the cooled pretzels, spreading it over the edges of the dish to create a tight seal. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
• You can use frozen strawberries instead of fresh.
• After mixing Jell-O and boiling water, refrigerate to speed gelling process. You want to wait until it has frozen a bit before spreading it over the cream cheese layer.