EverybodyCraves.com

Some party foods are just too good to only be served at friends’ summer social affairs.

In the Northeast, a strawberry pretzel salad shows up nearly at every party once the weather gets warm. But why should we wait to have this delicious sweet and salty dessert?

If you’ve never had this summer staple, you’re in for a sweet textural surprise. The crunchy pretzels along with the creamy filling, cool Jell-O and crisp fruit are highly craveable, and making it at home means you can customize with fruit of your choice.

Use local berries if you can, and pack it full of fruit. It may be called “salad,” but there’s nothing healthy about it unless you can squeeze in a few servings of fruit.

Try any fruit, really. It can be made with peaches and raspberries, or kiwi and coconut. Get creative. No matter what fruit you use, it will always be a party favorite.

MIXED BERRY PRETZEL SALAD

6-oz. package of Jell-O

2 cups boiling water

2 1/2 cups salted pretzels, crush

1/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter (8 tbsp.)

8-oz. package cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

6-8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed

1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

1 cup fresh blueberries, washed

Optional:

Star sprinkles or any other holiday type sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 350. Pour two cups of boiling water over Jell-O powder and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.

Put 2 1/2 cups of pretzels in a sealed bag and crush with a mallet or rolling pin.

Melt 1 stick of butter, then dissolve 1/4 cup sugar. Mix in crushed pretzels and coat well.

Pour pretzel mixture into 13 by 9 inch glass casserole dish (clear glass will let you see the beautiful layers).

Press pretzel mix evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Set aside to cool completely.

While pretzel layer cools, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sugar on medium high until fluffy. Fold in 6-8 ounces of Cool Whip and mix well by hand. Mix in sprinkles if desired. Spread mixture over cooled pretzel layer. Make sure cream goes all the way to the edges (so the Jell-O won’t leak into the pretzel layer).

Wash strawberries and blueberries. Hull and slice strawberries. Place evenly over cream layer. Pour cooled Jell-O evenly over fruit. Add more sprinkles then refrigerate until Jell-O sets (about 3 hours).

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