Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Dinner: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

While J and I were hoping that my father's family would decide not to have Christmas this year and that my mom would come to the mountain, that didn't happen.  Every year, my father and his 3 next oldest siblings and their families get together for Christmas dinner.  As the siblings age, they keep threatening that they won't do it anymore - it's too much work, they're getting too old, etc, etc.  There's usually 20 of us or so.  Whoever is available comes.  When I asked what I should bring, I was told a Jello salad.
My mother makes a wide variety of Jello salads.  Some are sweet, which I don't mind too much, and others are disconcertingly savory.  Most come from the recipe book the Joys of Jello.  Sometime I'll have to tell the horrifying story of the lemon jello with beet juice and horseradish. read right.  I've made it.
But seeing as I didn't have the book, and I have no favourite jello recipes, I turned to the mighty Facebook asking what kind of salad I should make.  My friend Trudi suggested the Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and the next day a friend from Texas had emailed me her recipe.
I present to you now the salad that I'm taking to Christmas today, Strawberry Pretzel:

2 c crushed pretzels
3/4 c melted butter
3 Tbsp white sugar
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz container of Cool Whip
1 c white sugar
2 (3 oz) Strawberry Jello (The small ones, so you don't have to call your mom from the grocery store like some people do...or so I've heard)
2 c boiling water
2- 10 oz packages frozen strawberries, drained

1.  Mix crushed pretzels, butter and 3 Tbsp sugar.  Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, and bake 8-10 minutes at 400 F.  Cool completely.
2.  Cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip and spread over cooled pretzels.
3.  Dissolve Jello powders in 2 cups water.  Stir in drained berries and let cool until it is the consistency of egg whites.  Pour over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set.
Mmmmm....frosty berries.  I used frozen strawberries that have been in my freezer far too long.  It's a huge bag from Costco, so I weighed out 20 oz.
As we have learned in the past, I don't make pastry.  I do, however, own a rolling pin.  It's just the thing for crushing pretzels.  They were waffle pretzels.  Whole grain, too.  That's what makes this recipe healthy.
Here would be the unhealthy layer.  The spoon was delicious when I licked it.  This would make a really great dessert.  Or perhaps it really is a dessert masquerading as a salad.
If nothing else, it's really pretty.  I'm looking forward to tasting it.  But frankly, based on each layer I don't know how it couldn't be good!

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