Memorial Day Pretzel Jell-O
When I found out I got American holidays at my new job, I put a call out on Twitter asking what sort of traditions surrounded Memorial Day. I assumed it would be all ballpark franks and Budweiser because well, that’s how I stereotype Americans (as if you don’t stereotype Canadians!!).
But blog friends Leah and Brie told me about this thing called pretzel jell-o. I at first imagined a block of jell-o with pretzels floating around inside. Weird. But Leah sent me a link to a recipe and I immediately knew it was a must-make for the long weekend!
A pretzel crust, whipped middle layer, and fruity jell-o on top. Never in my life have I heard of anything like this. Probably because my mom never let us eat products with food dyes in it growing up, Jell-O included. She’s a microbiologist and gets weirded out by the chemicals in food dyes. Rightfully so!
But I’m an adult now, and can occasionally choose to poison myself if I so choose.
I pulverized about 3/4 of the bag in a blender to make 2 cups crushed pretzels. Then mixed with 3 tbsp sugar and 3/4 cup melted butter.
Pressed firmly into a 9×13 pan and baked at 325F for 8 minutes.
While that was going on, I got started on the middle layer.
The measurements for this recipe are all in ounces, but I’m Canadianizing it by using metric. So for this you need a 250g package of cream cheese and 1L tub of cool whip. I used the light versions because it’s nice to save calories where you can when making dessert. Plus, it’s already a chemical gold mine with the jell-o.
Check it out – even the Cool Whip has a version of this recipe on the lid. At this point, I am feeling both deprived and isolated for never having heard of it.
For this layer, start by mixing your block of cream cheese with 1 cup sugar. If you have an electric mixer, use it. I don’t (yet) and doing this step with a fork sucks.
Once that’s all combined, fold in your container of cool whip and spread on top of the pretzel crust, assuming it’s out of the oven by now.
Don’t forget to lick the bowl after this! I call it “Baker’s Rights.” As the person doing the baking, you have the right to lick all bowls and utensils when finished.
I also never knew a strawberry banana flavour of Jell-O even existed. I was surprised to find it at my grocery store! You’ll need two packages.
For this step, mix the packets with 2 cups boiling water and throw in 600g semi-frozen sliced strawberries (I just let them sit on the counter for a little bit to slightly thaw first).
For those of you wondering, 600g is also 20 oz, which is also the same size as a President’s Choice or Europe’s Best bag of frozen strawberries.
Let that chill in the fridge for 10 minutes, no longer. You want it just slightly molded but still able to pour on top for the final layer.
Once that’s all done, put it in the fridge so the jell-o can finish and serve cold.
Tada! My first ever batch of Pretzel Jell-O! I feel so American! No Budweiser needed ;)
The pretzel crust did not turn out as salty as I was expecting. Just slightly less cookie-like than a graham crust.
The fruity jell-o layer with the whipped cream cheese is of course a winning combo.
I brought this dessert over to my step-dad’s birthday party, and it provided the perfect light dessert on a warm pre-summer day.
Thanks America, you’ve got some great ideas sometimes!
Now, off the topic of jell-o, I’m wondering – what stereotypes do you have about Canadians? I figure everyone thinks we’re like Robin from How I Met Your Mother (which, really, isn’t far from the truth).