Mel and Michele have joined forces to host, as they put it, a “… brand-spanking-new, semi-monthly link-up.” For the first prompt of December, they’ve asked for our favorite holiday recipes. Since I made this goodie over Thanksgiving, per my kids’ requests, it seemed the perfect fit.
Okay, this really isn’t a salad, and sure with all that butter and sugar, it’s also probably not all that ‘good’ for you ~ like salads should be. Yet… still… it tastes so good.
The sweet and salty combination is wonderful, and a very attractive dish. It’s sure to be a hit with your family or at any potluck dinner.
I first had this salad at an annual fundraiser luncheon hosted by a women’s group at a neighborhood church. Each spring the women would present at least a dozen different salads. The luncheon was a much-anticipated, and well attended function. The women were also generous enough to share some of their recipes, this one included.
This is definitely a make-ahead dish. What with having to pre-bake the crust, and then letting the cream cheese and strawberry layers set separately before serving ~ you need to start early in the morning if you want to serve it with dinner that night, or just make it the day before.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
2 Tablespoons sugar
1½ sticks butter, melted
2 cups crushed pretzels
1 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
6 ounce box strawberry gelatin (or two, 3 ounces boxes)
2 cups boiling water
20 ounces strawberries, sliced (may use 10 ounce pkg frozen berries)
Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar, melted butter and crushed pretzels, mixing well. Press into the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake at 375°F (191°C) for 10 minutes. Let cool 1 hour.
Cream cheese layer:
Beat 1 cup sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread evenly over cooled pretzel layer. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until set.
Mix gelatin into boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Fold in sliced strawberries. Let cool and spoon evenly over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate overnight or until set.
• Recycle… don’t immediately throw away the wax paper covering the butter. Use the butter-coated side to rubbed down the inside of the baking pan.
• A heavy-duty ziplock bag and a meat tenderizing mallet makes for fun pretzel smashing, and is an amusing stress reliever.
• To save a little more prep time, after washing and capping, use a mushroom slicer to cut up the strawberries.
• If you insist on being healthy, or at least healthier, you can substitute sugar-free, fat-free, or reduced fat ingredients for any of the ‘full-on, bad for you’ ingredients.
*From the Vault of IMSO; originally published Jan. 25, 2010. Edited and updated.