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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

by elyn_ryn

This is a classic strawberry gelatin salad with a salty pretzel crust and sweet cream cheese filling. Cooks started making it in the 1960s and usually served it in a large baking dish. For entertaining, I think it works well to place it into canning jars to make individual servings. They are cute single servings that people love. However, make extras because one is never enough!

Canning Jars

I chose to use canning jars to make this salad because you can bake the pretzel crust in them. Also, they are clear, which means that you can see the pretty salad through the glass. If you want to use other clear glass containers, make sure they are heat-safe for baking the crust. If you can find half-sized jars (4 or 8 ounces), as shown below, they will work best because it is easier to keep the ingredients in proportion to one another.

Making the Crust

Make the crust by crushing the pretzels very fine. A pretzel crust can be hard to chew with larger pieces of hard pretzels. A food processor works well for crushing pretzels, but you can also use a small electric chopper. Crush them by hand using a heavy-duty reclosable bag and a rolling pin. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag before starting, or rolling the rolling pin over the bag can make it burst.

You do not need to grease the jars before adding the crust. Once added, tamp down the crust using a tamp or a small flat-bottomed cup or heavy glass.

Bake the crust and then allow it to cool completely before adding the cream cheese filling.

Making the Filling

It is best to use a mixer to make the cream cheese filling. However, if the cream cheese is at room temperature and soft, you can mix it using a whisk. Just stir it until all the sugar dissolves. Place the mixture onto the cooled crust and then place all the jars into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the cream cheese can chill and set.

Pretzel salad served individually for a different spin on a classic treat

Strawberry Layer

Use fresh strawberries for the strawberry gelatin layer of the salad. Chop the berries very fine, so they are easier to eat. Add the strawberry layer after the heated gelatin cools so it doesn’t melt the cream cheese layer. Then place all the jars back into the refrigerator for at least four hours to let the gelatin thicken.

Decorate the Jars

Garnish the jars with mint or other edible mini leaves. Also, consider adding flags to make a patriotic dessert to serve on Memorial Day or Independence Day. But this salad jells with people anytime, so consider making it to eat during the winter holidays.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Classic strawberry pretzel salad dessert reimagined with fresh strawberries and whipping cream
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 1/2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Creamy Filling
Strawberry Topping
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 1/2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Creamy Filling
Strawberry Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add the pretzels, butter, and sugar to a food processor and process until the pretzels are finely chopped. (See note below for making the crust by hand.)
  3. Place a tablespoon of the crust mixture into each canning jar. Then tamp down the crumbs with a hand tamp or small cup or glass that will fit inside the jar. Place the jars on a cookie sheet with sides (to prevent them from sliding off when removed from the oven).
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
Creamy Filling
  1. Place the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla into a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the whipping cream and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth.
  2. Spread the mixture over the cooled crusts in the jars. Place the jars into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set the cream cheese.
Strawberry Topping
  1. Bring the water to a boil and then pour it into a heat-safe bowl and add the gelatin. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, and then place it in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Wash, drain, and chop the strawberries and place them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the jars from the refrigerator and spoon the chopped strawberries over the cream cheese mixture, dividing the strawberries between the jars.
  4. Then spoon the gelatin over the strawberries in the jars, dividing it between them.
  5. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Recipe Notes

Gluten-Free

The dessert can be made gluten-free by substituting gluten-free pretzels for regular pretzels. Always check that you are using gluten-free brands for the other items in this recipe.

Making the Crust by Hand

Place a few pretzels into a gallon-sized freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. Seal the bag. Roll a rolling pin over the bag to crush the pretzels. You may have to repeat rolling over the pretzels a few times. Pour the crushed pretzels into a bowl and repeat the process until all pretzels are crushed. Then whisk the sugar into the pretzel and mix. Add the butter and stir until well mixed.

Use the Freezer to Chill the Layers Faster

You can speed up this dessert-prep time by cooling the layers in the freezer, which will take less time than the refrigerator. Also, when the dessert is finished, place all the jars into the freezer for about 45 minutes. Check that they are chilled before serving. Don't leave them in the freezer longer than 45 minutes, or they might freeze.

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