Strawberry Pretzel Bars



I have found another delicious reason to freeze strawberries while they are in season.  My first reason is this unbelievable Strawberry Shortcake Cake.  My new reason are these bars.

Unlike the traditional recipe {often called Strawberry-Pretzel Salad} which uses Strawberry flavored gelatin for it's berry flavor, this recipe incorporates real berries which I enjoy.  A great combo of salty and sweet, these bars are relatively easy to make.

I skipped the straining portion of the strawberry mixture but left the instructions in so you can decide for yourself what you would prefer.  I didn't feel like dealing with the slow process of straining it and opted to keep the bits of seeds and strawberry chunks.  It was still delicious.

Strawberry Pretzel Bars
source:  Cook's Country Magazine
6 1/2 ounces thin pretzel sticks
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
3 pounds {10 1/2 cups} frozen strawberries, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 13 x 9" baking pan with vegetable oil spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pretzels and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar until coarsely ground, about 15 pulses.  Add the melted butter and pulse until combined, about 10 pulses.  Transfer to the prepared pan and press into the pan.

Bake until crust is fragrant and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Allow crust to cool on cooling rack for about 20 minutes prior to adding the next layer.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and, with mixer still running, slowly add cream.  Continue beating until soft peaks form, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cooled crust.  Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

While the crust/cream cheese mixture is setting, process 2 pounds of the strawberries in the empty bowl of your food processor until pureed, about 30 seconds.  Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, if desired {see note above}.  Add the strained {or un-strained} mixture to a medium saucepan along with the remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and salt.  Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until bubbles begin to appear around the edges of the pan and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water.  Allow to set about 5 minutes, until gelatin softens.  Whisk the strawberry puree mixture into the gelatin.  Slice the remaining strawberries and stir them into the puree mixture.  Refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to cling to the sides of the bowl, about 30 minutes.

Carefully pour the gelatin mixture over the cream cheese layer, evenly.  Refrigerate until bars are fully set, 4-6 hours.  Store in the refrigerator.



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3 comments:

SouthernHeart said...

The strawberry pretzel salad is one of my favorite, so I KNOW I would love this dessert! Will definitely be trying this one...

Blessings,
Dianne
www.sweetjourneyhome.com

September Violets said...

Any dessert with fresh (or freshly frozen) strawberries sound amazing to me! These bars look delicious and refreshing :) Wendy x

Sugar Cookies to Peterbilts said...

Strawberries are just coming into season here, and this is going to be the first dessert I make!