This one comes sort of as a special request, by one of my most favoritest cousins, Taryn. I guess she asked Dana for the recipe the other day, since it wasn’t on the blog yet (gasp!). Dana knew I was hosting Easter brunch at my house this year with our Mom and Dad (Dana abandoned us for her in-laws, who I refer to as “the Original Banos,” Dana and Derek are the Banos- short for Banovetz of course, so Derek’s dad is Original Bano), and asked me if I was making it, then not so subtly hinted that I make it, and blog it. This is one of my favorite desserts that my mom makes, and its often featured at Forsman get-togethers, I can’t believe we haven’t blogged it yet. It has everything you want in a dessert- fruity, creamy, and a salty crunch. It’s pretty easy too. So I decided to add it to our menu.
First, crush the pretzels. In hindsight I should have used pretzel sticks, not twists, they would have crushed more evenly, though it probably doesn’t matter. I put about half of a bag of pretzels into a zip loc and used a rolling pin to crush them. You want small pieces, not completely crushed to powder; basically you want small enough pieces that will mix with the melted butter and get glued together.
Put the pretzel pieces in a bowl, sprinkle the brown sugar over them, and pour the melted butter over. Stir until all the pretzels are covered with the butter.
Then pour into a 9×13 inch baking pan, and use your spatula to press them down, making a crust. Then bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, take out and cool.
In the meantime, make the second layer- the creamy goodness layer. At about this stage of my making this, my mom and dad showed up to dye Easter eggs with us, so my mom helped me out a bit. Put the softened cream cheese into a medium sized bowl, stir around with a strong spoon or spatula, then stir in the sugar (my mom let me know you should stir the sugar in with the cream cheese after I had already added the whip cream…so you’ll notice the picture is not quite right), then add the cool whip (or whip cream, or ‘whipped topping’), fold gently until all three are nicely mixed together. This is where my mom gave me the tip of mixing the sugar in with the cream cheese first, so you don’t over mix the whip cream. The tip if far more important if using real whipped cream because it can fall flat it not folded in gently. The whipped topping I was using because my mom and dad are lactose intolerant is a bit more forgiving.
Spread this creamy layer over your pretzel crust. Put it aside while you make your third layer.
Cut the frozen strawberries into quarters, or whatever size strawberry chunk you want. It’s best to try to keep the berries frozen, so either cut them frozen, or thaw them, cut them, then stick them in the freezer again- you want them cold. They are going to act like ice when we mix up the jello.
Boil 2 cups of water, pour the boiling water into a bowl or large measuring cup with the jello powder, stir until the powder dissolves. Then pour the jello liquid into your bowl of strawberries, stir around gently, then let it sit to thicken just a bit, a couple minutes.
Now, pour the strawberry jello over the second layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, enough time to let the jello set.
Cut and serve!
- 4 cups crushed pretzels
- 1.5 sticks of butter- melted
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 8oz carton of Cool Whip, or other whip cream topping
- 1 8 oz package of cream cheese- softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 16oz packages of frozen strawberries
- 1 6oz package of strawberry jello
- Mix the crushed pretzels, melted butter, and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Press into a 9x13 inch baking pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, then cool.
- Mix the sugar into the cream cheese
- Fold the Cool Whip into the cream cheese and sugar, spread onto the pretzel layer
- Cut the frozen strawberries into quarters, or small pieces, keep cold/frozen.
- Mix the jello powder with 2 cups of boiling water, until the jello is dissolved
- Pour the jello liquid over the strawberries and stir gently, then let sit for about 3 minutes until it begins to thicken.
- Pour the strawberry jello over the whip layer, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
- Cut and serve.