Strawberry Pretzel Bars

I actually love pretzels as an ingredient – I feel like I don’t use them nearly enough.  I think it’s the chunks salt combined with the crisp texture.  They make for a great crust, which is what I use them for here.

The rest of this layered dessert includes a smooth cream cheese and Cool Whip center and a Jell-O and strawberry topping.  Basically, I grabbed some prepackaged stuff at the store…and made something even better from them!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels (about 5 cups of actual pretzels, crushed in a food processor – it’s ok to be a bit heavy-handed here, just definitely don’t go under 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 T butter
  • 1 ½ t vanilla

Middle

  • 4 oz cream cheese, brought to room temperature
  • 2 T milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Cool Whip

Topping

  • 4 ½ cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 6 oz. package, strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water

Directions

This is a layered dessert, and we’ll make the layers in order.

Start by butter and flouring (or spraying) a 13” x 9” pan and set that aside.

To start with the crust, put the pretzels into a food processor and grind them up.  It’s ok if there are still some pieces left – it’ll add to the texture.  Next add in the sugar and whisk that in until the two are well combined.  Finally, melt the butter and add that and the vanilla to the mix and combine.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and press lightly with your fingers to even it out.  Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, or until it starts to get golden brown.  When it’s done, take it out of the oven and move it to a wire rack to cool.IMG_3421

You’ll want to wait until the crust is cool (or pretty much cooled) before you start layer two.

When you’re ready, add the cream cheese, milk and sugar into a bowl and mix until smooth.  Next, add in the Cool Whip and stir that in with a wooden spoon.  Pour the mixture over the crust and spread it evenly.  IMG_3423Cover with aluminum foil (that’s not touching the Cool Whip mixture) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Finally, the last layer.

Pour the Jell-O into a bowl.  Boil your first 2 cups of water and add them to the Jell-O.  Stir until completely dissolved, then add the cold water and stir that in as well.  Refrigerate the bowl for about a half hour to an hour, just to cool the Jell-O down and let it thicken a bit but do NOT let it set.

While it’s cooling in the fridge, get your strawberries, cut the tops off, core them and cut into quarters until you have 4 ½ cups.

When the Jell-O is cooled and slightly thick take it out of the fridge, add in the cut strawberries and stir until they’re pretty evenly distributed.  Take your pan out of the fridge and pour the Jell-O mixture over the Cool Whip layer and put it back into the fridge for at least 3 hours until the Jell-O sets and you have yourself some delicious Strawberry Pretzel Bars!

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