Happy Fourth of July!!
I wanted to share this dessert our family eats every Fourth of July. In all honesty, I would eat this all day long and skip my meals! I think because I only make it once a year, it is really something we look forward to overeating every Fourth.
My Great Aunt & Uncle held the Fourth of July festivities at their home every year. At least 30-40 family members would gather for delicious food and our own personal fireworks show in the street after dark. This strawberry jello pretzel dessert was always included, and I tried to get to the front of the food line so I wouldn’t miss it! After we moved from California to Texas, I knew I had to find out how it was made, and continue this tradition with my own kids.
So here we go!
2 cups chopped pretzels (about 4 cups unchopped)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
The creamy middle layer:
8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
8 ounce container Cool Whip, defrosted in refrigerator
1 cup sugar
6 ounce box strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
Begin by coarse chopping the pretzels in a food processor, or large knife if you don’t have a food processor. I used my small Cuisinart mini chopper so I didn’t have to get the big one dirty. 😉 Combine the pretzels, melted butter, and 3 Tbsp sugar in a bowl, then spread in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Bake the crust in a 400 degree oven for 7-10 minutes. Let cool.
While the crust is cooling, combine the cream cheese and sugar for the creamy layer. Once well combined, whisk in the Cool Whip. Set aside and prep the Jello. Dissolve the Jello mix with the boiling water, and let sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. You don’t want it to set, but it should start to thicken. If it is set too long, your top layer will look lumpy, instead of pouring on and self-leveling. Have no fear, if this does happen (we all know how we can get distracted by kids, TV, phone, Facebook, etc) just use another box of Jello and 2 cups water (partially set) to pour over and even it out. You will have a thicker Jello layer, but who is going to complain about that?!
While the Jello cools in the fridge (we haven’t poured it on yet), use a spatula to spread the creamy layer over the pretzel crust. Use care, or you will tear up your crust. I had a few loose pieces of pretzel come up, but they were easily hidden below the creamy layer. Be sure to spread the cream all the way to the edges of the pan, touching the glass! If you leave a gap, the Jello will seep to the bottom and make your crust soft and mushy… Ewww. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good.
Once the Jello is starting to thicken, take it out of the fridge and stir it to break up any chunks that may have started to form. You should be able to pour it right over the cream layer and watch it self-level. Cover with cling-wrap and chill until Jello is completely set.
Now dig in! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Let us know if you liked this recipe, and share this with your friends and family!
Have a happy & safe 4th of July!