Strawberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Bars

I have lived in Florida for 15 years, though I grew up in Pennsylvania. I think my home state has some of the best food traditions, two of which are Philadelphia Cream Cheese  and Snyders Pretzels. My favorite comfort food treat that every Pennsylvania mom seems to know how to make are Strawberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Bars.

They might sound kind of wacky, but they are absolutely amazing and easy to make. This sweet and salty snack is a unique item to bring to a potluck dinner or make for a holiday meal. Plus the red is great for holiday parties, but I love it for picnics in the summer just as much.

My girlfriend who also grew up in Pennsylvania maintains this is a side dish and not a desert.

I’ll let you decide!


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of finely crushed pretzels (I suggest putting them in a bag and using a potato masher).
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, divided (or 1/4 cup of Truvia to cut down on the sugar, though the sugar caramelizes a bit better).
  • 2/3 cup melted butter.
  • 1 1/2 packages (8 oz. each) of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese (12 oz.).
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk (at least 2%).
  • 1 cup of thawed  Cool Whip.
  • 2 cups boiling water.
  • 1 package(6 oz.) of strawberry             Jello.
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water (include a few ice cubes too).
  • 4 cups of sliced strawberries.

HOW TO MAKE IT

First, you make the cartelized pretzel crust for the base. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.  Combine the crushed pretzel bits, 1/4 cup sugar (or 1/8 cup Truvia) and butter, and press the mixture onto bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 10 min, then let cool to room temperature.

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Next you’ll make the “cheese cake-ish” lawyer.  Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar (or 1/8 cup Truvia) and milk with mixer, and then stir in COOL WHIP and blend until frothy. Spread this topping over the pretzel crust. Refrigerate until cool and you are ready to use.

Last, you’ll make the strawberry topping.  Add boiling water to the strawberry JELL-O mix in large bowl, and stir for about 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Next you’ll stir  in the cold water. Refrigerate the JELL-O mixture for 1-1/2 hours or until begins to thicken. Before the JELL-O becomes completely solid, stir in berries and spoon over the cream cheese layer.

After that you just refrigerate until it is completely firm (about 2-3 hours).  Comment below and let me know how you like this desert dish!

Photo courtesy of Kraft.

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