Okay, so this stuff is the best kind of weird.  It’s got it all: sweet, salty, creamy, and fruity delivered within smooth, yet crunchy, bite.  This quirky little recipe uses just a handful of ingredients and is quite easy to put together.  You do need to let it set up overnight, so plan ahead, but it’s definitely worth the wait.  Great for pot-luck, family dinners, or, maybe, Valentine’s Day, it’ll be a tasty conversation piece, whatever the occasion.  Many variations can be made by using a different fruit/Jell-O combination, to cutting fat and calories with lower-fat and sugar-free ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 c. broken pretzels (I use the small twists)
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use low-fat)
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (I use sugar-free) or whipped cream
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 20 oz. whole frozen strawberries
  • 2 small packages of Jell-O (again, I use sugar-free)
  • 2 c. boiling water

Start out by heating the oven to 350°.  Melt the butter and break up your pretzels while the oven is heating.  I’ve found the best way to break the pretzels to seal them in a Ziploc bag, being sure to get out as much air as you can, and crush them with a rolling pin, or the bottom of a glass or coffee mug.  You’re looking for a variety of sizes, the largest being about 1/2 inch.  You don’t want to completely pulverize them.

Once the oven is heated, mix the pretzels and melted butter in a 9×13 baking pan and bake them for 10 minutes, stirring after the first 5 minutes.  Let them cool while you’re working on the next step.

Defrost the strawberries so they are just soft enough to mash them with a potato masher.  Mix the boiling water with the 2 packages of Jell-O and mix in the mashed strawberries.  Set the mix in the fridge to set up a little.  It should be the consistency of loose jam, so check it periodically and take it out of the fridge if it starts setting too firmly.

While you’re waiting on the strawberry to set up, cream together the sugar, cream cheese, and whipped topping.  Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled pretzels in a smooth layer.  I find it’s easiest to dollop it on in several places and then spread it out than to try to do it all at once.  It’s pretty sticky and can push around the pretzel base.

Stir up the strawberry/Jell-O mix and pour it over the cheese.  Smooth out to the edges and refrigerate 10-12 hours before serving.

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