Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raspberry Pretzel Salad

Waaay back when I was first married (and sadly, the worst cook ever), I bought a cookbook. I was seriously done with the terrible meals I had been making for my poor, patient husband (who apparently also didn't have high expectations for my cooking skills, or he had really bad taste in good food). I can't even remember what we ate most the time, although thoughts of spaghetti (really, just pasta and sauce) and overdone steaks come to mind. Yikes! I remember branching out and actually made a decent meatloaf once, and I was great with a slow cooker. And pancakes.

The cookbook I bought was "The Essential Mormon Cookbook", and let me tell you, I was terrified. I hadn't made most of the stuff in the book, and I had never even made Jello before either! I perused the recipes and found a few I still use today (their meatball recipe is delicious, and so is their Missionary Meatloaf). One recipe, though, that my mother helped me make when she came to help after the birth of my first baby was the Raspberry Pretzel Salad. It was amazing! I was so weirded out to be using preztels with cream cheese and raspberries, but something about those things all together makes perfection!

We've made this recipe lots of times before, but this was the first time I had actually made it on my own. I only the second time I had made Jello before (I'm slowly becoming the ultimate Mormon housewife). It was a major hit at the Thanksgiving feast. It was like eating dessert with my turkey!

So start off with your pretzels. The recipe calls for sticks, I had regular so I went with it. I just broke them up into thirds and fourths and had them lay as flat as possible.
Add the butter. Make sure you cover them as much as you can. 
Mix your cream cheese, sugar and Cool Whip. I could eat this concoction all day! 
Butter + Pretzels = Amazing! Somehow it has this toffee flavor that is to die for!
Carefully place the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzels. You don't want to lift the pretzels, so I put spoonsfuls all around and then lightly spread it with my spatula. Cover from edge to edge, so when you pour your syrupy Jello on top, it does not leak to the bottom. This will cause soggy pretzels!
Pour on the raspberry goodness!
This is what you're looking for. Three distinct layers, and no Jello leaking to the bottom!
So. Good. And bonus, it can be made the day before!

Raspberry Pretzel Salad
by Carissa Poyfair, adapted from "The Essential Mormon Cookbook"

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
2 1/2 cups thin pretzel sticks
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 large pkg raspberry jello
2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen raspberries undrained and slightly thawed
Melt butter and pour into 9X13 pan.  Break pretzels in half and pat evenly into pan.  Bake 10 minutes at 400.  Remove from oven and cool. 

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, Cool Whip and sugar.  Dab on top of pretzels and spread to edges of pan, leaving no spaces (if the Jello gets under this layer, it will make the pretzels soggy).  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Bring water to a boil.  Completely dissolve gelatin in boiling water and cool in fridge until syrupy.  Add raspberries and pineapple and stir.  Pour carefully over top of cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm.

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