When I was a kid, if someone offered to bring a salad to a church potluck or family dinner, it usually involved a packet of jello or lots of mayonnaise. My grandmother would often bring a yellow jello salad that did contain grated carrots, but other than that, no vegetables were involved. These 'salads' ranged from basic macaroni salad and potato salad to more elaborate watergate salad and strawberry pretzel salad. They were all delicious in a totally non-salad kind of way.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad is my favorite of all the 'salads' that I enjoyed at church potlucks and family dinners. It is also one of the most unique. It is the perfect blend of salty and sweet flavors and, because it is chilled and served straight from the refrigerator, it is a nice contrast to hot foods. Yes, you read that right, Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a side dish not a dessert. Although it includes a large pack of strawberry jello and an entire tub of cool-whip, it sits right next to ham, chicken, and macaroni-and-cheese on the buffet line. Oh, you could totally serve it for dessert, but you won't catch me doing that. No, in honor of my mom, my mother-in-law, and the ladies that passed this recipe on to them, I serve it as a side dish, just like they did.
One of my copies of this recipe (I have 3 in my recipe box) was handwritten by my mom and at the bottom says "From the Kitchen of Bev Jopp". This is another reason why it is such a great idea to share our recipes with family and friends. Mrs. Jopp recently passed away but here is her recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Salad in my recipe box. It is very sad that she is gone but part of her legacy is a recipe that can be passed on and enjoyed for generations.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
3 cups crushed pretzel (crush first and then measure)
1 stick butter, softened
4 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1-8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup 10x sugar
1 small container Cool-Whip
1 quart strawberries, washed and sliced
1 large packet of strawberry jello
2 cups water
- Lightly coat a 9 x 13 pan with butter or cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place pretzels in a large zip-lock bag. Crush with a rolling pin. Mix crushed pretzels, softened butter, and brown sugar. Pat pretzel mixture into pan.
- Bake pretzel crush for 15-18 minutes. Cool crust completely.
- Mix softened cream cheese, 10x sugar, and small container of cool-whip (I use an electric hand mixer to do this). Blend well. Spread cream cheese mixture onto cooled pretzel crust. Seal edges to side of pan.
- Place sliced strawberries in an even layer on top of cream cheese mixture, pressing gently. Chill.
- Boil 2 cups of water. Dissolve one large pack of strawberry jello in boiling water. Chill jello in refrigerator until slightly cooled but not thickened (about 45 minutes). Pour jello over strawberry layer.
- Chill Strawberry Pretzel Salad for several hours or overnight.
- Cut into squares. Serve. Enjoy!