Introduction: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This southern classic is more akin to a Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake than a Caesar. But the combination of a salty crushed pretzel crust,  whipped cream and cream cheese topped with strawberry gelatin and real strawberries will bring you back for seconds.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad is traditionally made with margarine and "whipped topping," but here I sub in butter and homemade whipped cream. Add that to the rich cream cheese filling and you have a truly indulgent dessert. Sweet and salty, jiggly and smooth, creamy and addictive, there's good reason why this dish is a favorite at church picnics and barbecues down South. You might find yourself dipping into the leftovers for breakfast.

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Serves: 12, active time 45 minutes, total time 2 hours, 45 minutes


    2 cups finely crushed pretzels
    3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    8 ounces cream cheese
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    6 ounces strawberry gelatin dessert mix
    2 cups boiling water
    20 ounces of frozen strawberries


    1  Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar until well combined. Then press mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is set and slightly browned. Set aside to cool completely.

    2   Using a stand or handheld electric mixer whip together cream cheese, vanilla and 2/3 cup sugar until light and creamy Set mixture aside in a medium bowl.

    3   Using a stand or handheld electric mixer whip together 2 tablespoons of sugar and heavy whipping cream until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and spread on cooled crust. Refrigerate until chilled completely, about 30 minutes.

    4   In a large bowl pour boiling water over gelatin, stirring continuously until fully dissolved. Allow mixture to cool slightly about 10 minutes, then stir in frozen strawberries. Let mixture cool further until it begins to gel. When it reaches the "soft set" stage where the gelatin is beginning to thicken, spread over chilled cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for two hours or until set. Serve chilled.