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Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Bars

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Strawberry Pretzel Bars are a classic spring and summertime dessert. This make ahead and semi-from scratch treat consists of a salty almond pretzel crust, sweetened whipped cream cheese filling and topped with a strawberry gelatin.
Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
Cuisine American
Keyword cool treat, dessert, holiday, make ahead, spring, strawberry, summer
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Additional Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings 16 servings
Calories 290
Author Laurie McNamara

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST:

  • 2 cups (crushed) pretzels
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds ground, see notes
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 splash pure vanilla extract

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 6 ounce package strawberry gelatin like Jell-O brand
  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 32 ounces frozen sweetened strawberries thawed, see notes about thawing

SERVE WITH:

Instructions

TO MAKE THE CRUST:

  • Preheat your oven to 350° and grab your 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Add pretzels to a large re-sealable bag, use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to finely crush. Add it to a mixing bowl with the ground almonds and sugar. Stir to combine before pouring in the melted butter.
  • Stir well before adding the baking dish. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the pan using the flat side of a drinking glass or measuring cup. Bake for 10 minutes (rotate half way through) and then remove and let cool completely.

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the heavy whipping cream and use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Then, in a seaparate larger mixing bowl, add sugar, softened cream cheese and a splash of vanilla. Blend until smooth.
  • Add the unsweetened whipped cream to the bowl with the cream cheese and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the cream into the cheese mixture by using big sweeps until combined and no streaks remain.
  • Once the crust has cooled, spread the whipped cream mixture over top of the crust, corner to corner to seal the crust in. This is important so the jello topping doesn't break through and sog the crust. Chill for 1 hour.

TO MAKE THE TOPPING:

  • Pour the strawberry Jell-O mix into a heat safe bowl. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and carefully pour it into the bowl with the Jell-O. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • To that, add the thawed strawberries and stir to combine. Place the bowl of strawberry jello mixture in your fridge to chill for 1 hour or until thickened but not completely set.
  • Once thick, pour the strawberry Jell-O mixture over top of the chilled whipped cream cheese mixture and refrigerated 6 hours or overnight.

Notes

* I add almonds to a mini food processor and pulse until finely chopped/ground. Then measure 1/2 cup. If you have a nut allergy, simply omit this ingredient from the recipe.
** The morning you're preparing to make this, set out the frozen sweetened sliced strawberries on the counter to thaw. This can take about 2 to 3 hours on the counter. However, follow package directions to safely thaw the strawberries.

Nutrition

Serving: 1square | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 492IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg