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Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Dessert

Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake DessertConfession: I’m a potluck snob.  To clarify, I am not a fan of eating food if I don’t know where or how it was prepared.  If we’re friends, and I’ve seen that you have a clean kitchen and you don’t pick your nose and eat it, I’ll eat your food.  Otherwise, I’m afraid, I usually won’t touch it.  I am also a big buffet snob.  At least I own it.

Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Dessert

Because of this aversion to potlucks, even though I’ve seen this Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Dessert at them throughout my entire adult life, often called “Pretzel Salad” or “Jello Pretzel Salad” I’d actually never tried it until I made it last week.  I’ve seen others eating it, I’ve heard them raving about it, but I’ve looked at the components and thought “Jello, pretzels, cream cheese…. nah. Too weird.”

Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Dessert

You guys I was wrong.

Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Dessert

It’s amazing. If you like sweet and salty desserts, this is for you.  The pretzel layer is completely amazing.  I would only make this the night before serving- no earlier, because the longer the pretzel layer sits, the less crunchy it gets, and the crunch is good. The cheesecake layer- also amazing.  The jell-o is good too.  Next time I make this, I’m actually going to try just topping it with fresh strawberries mixed with a little sugar instead of the jello.  I think that would be incredible too.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sugar Apron

Ingredients:

Pretzel Layer:
2 cups crushed stick pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
8 ounce cream cheese,softened
8 ounce Cool Whip
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest *optional, but really gives it an incredible taste.

Jell-O Topping:
3 ounce strawberry flavored Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 pound fresh strawberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Crush the pretzels and then mix together the pretzels, sugar and melted butter.
  3. Press into the bottom of a 9 x13 inch pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, lemon zest, and cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Fold in whipped topping, and mix well to combine.
  7. Spread evenly over the cooled pretzel layer. Make sure you spread all the way to the edges to avoid jell-o layer seeping through to the pretzels.  The cheesecake layer is your “seal.”
  8. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  9. In a medium bowl, stir together the strawberry Jell-o mixture and boiling water. When the Jell-o has dissolved, add the cold water.
  10. Mix in strawberries and refrigerate for 30 minutes until it is very slightly starting to set.
  11. Pour over the cooled cream cheese layer.
  12. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.
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