Pretzel Salad

Pretzel Salad, made very frequently by my Aunt Chris throughout my childhood, should just immediately be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in my opinion. I feel so strongly about 9x13 inch pan filled with nostalgia that I could just cry.


Aunt Chris shared her recipe with me, obviously hand-written on a note card, and I of course had my way with it. The nostalgia is still there, but so is the Grossy. A salty buttery pretzel crust, topped with layers of tangy pineapple cream cheese and sweet strawberry bliss. Topped with crunchy pretzels and served chilled on a hot summer day!!! I'm not crying, you are...

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:


2 cups crushed pretzels plus more for topping

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¾ cup melted butter

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 cup heavy cream or 9 oz. package of Cool Whip

8 oz. can crushed pineapple, strained

1 6 oz. box strawberry jell-o

20 oz. frozen whole or sliced strawberries

WHAT YOU'LL DO:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Pulse 2 cups crushed pretzels and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground and fully combined. No food processor? Use your hands! Add ¾ cup melted butter and pulse until the pretzels are all hydrated with butter. Again, hands work well here too!


Using your hands, evenly press your pretzel mixture into the bottom of the a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.


In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl using a hand mixer) mix 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened and 1 cup granulated sugar for a few minutes. If using heavy cream, add to bowl and whip until stiff peaks from. If using cool whip, add to bowl and combine by hand. Finally, add your 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, strained, to the bowl and incorporate by hand. Once your pretzel crust is cooled, spread cream cheese mixture evenly into pan and place in the fridge for minimum 15 minutes.


While your cream cheese layer cools, boil 3 cups of water. In a bowl, combine your 3 packages of strawberry jell-o and your 3 cups of boiling water. Stir until jell-o is dissolved. Carefully add your frozen strawberries into the bowl and stir. Place in fridge for a few minutes until mixture is partially thickened.


Grab your pan and your strawberry mixture. If you are a perfectionist (couldn't be me!), place the berries gently on top of the cream cheese mixture then pour the liquid on top, forming an even layer of strawberry deliciousness on top. If you are me, dump everything on top, spread it around and embrace the cream cheese magic swirls that happen!


Place your tray in the fridge over night, covered. Before you serve, decorate the top with a fresh layer of crushed pretzels for that perfect crunch! Slice into squares and serve as cold as possible!


Refrigerate leftovers. They will last until the apocalypse, maybe longer.


Make it step-by-step with me below!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crush up pretzels so that you get enough to fill 2 cups.

2. Pulse 2 cups crushed pretzels and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground and fully combined. No food processor? Use your hands!

3. Add ¾ cup melted butter and pulse until the pretzels are all hydrated with butter. Again, hands work well here too!

4. Using your hands, evenly press your pretzel mixture into the bottom of the a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.

5. Remove from oven and cool completely.

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl using a hand mixer) mix 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened and 1 cup granulated sugar for a few minutes.

7. If using heavy cream, add to bowl and whip until stiff peaks from. If using cool whip, add to bowl and combine by hand.

8. Finally, add your 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, strained, to the bowl and incorporate by hand.

9. Once your pretzel crust is cooled, spread cream cheese mixture evenly into pan and place in the fridge for minimum 15 minutes.

10. While your cream cheese layer cools, boil 3 cups of water. Grab a bowl and your jell-o!

11. In a bowl, combine your 3 packages of strawberry jell-o and your 3 cups of boiling water. Stir until jell-o is dissolved.

12. Carefully add your frozen strawberries into the bowl and stir. Place in fridge for a few minutes until mixture is partially thickened.

13. Grab your pan and your strawberry mixture. If you are a perfectionist (couldn't be me!), place the berries gently on top of the cream cheese mixture then pour the liquid on top, forming an even layer of strawberry deliciousness on top. If you are me, dump everything on top, spread it around and embrace the cream cheese magic swirls that happen! Place your tray in the fridge over night, covered.

14. Before you serve, decorate the top with a fresh layer of crushed pretzels for that perfect crunch! Slice into squares and serve as cold as possible!


Refrigerate leftovers. They will last until the apocalypse, maybe longer.

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