4TH OF JULY PRETZEL SALAD

What’s this?  Is it a flag, or dessert?  Is it sweet, or salty (BOTH!) How can this be?

Every year my friend Ashleigh has a 4th of July party that I look forward to all year.  We’re talking tie-dye t-shirts, a candy scramble, boiled peanuts, blackened mahi and fried grouper that her brother caught himself. DEE. LISH.OUS.  It’s an all out fun and eat-fest.

My self-appointed role is what else but to bring dessert!   My wonderful Italian mother passed along to me not just the love of baking, but the Italian gift of needing to feed people.  I can’t help it.  The gooier the better.   I stole this this recipe from her, adapted it a bit, and have been making it for Independence Day ever since.

I mean, what says Happy Birthday USA better than salad/dessert???

Here’s the deal:  The original recipe says to start with the pretzel layer and go up.   After time crunched fails where the Jello was too hot and I poured it over everything and then it sunk to the bottom and made the pretzels soggy, here’s what you do:

Make the Jello first.  Let sit and cool.

THEN crush the pretzels, and pour them into your 9″x 13″ baking dish.

Melt the butter, stir in the sugar, and pour over pretzels and mix round,  until evenly distributed.

Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes and let cool.

Put the cream cheese in your mixer and make it creamy.  Add the sugar, mix, then fold in Cool Whip.  Spread onto the pretzel layer ( make sure it’s cool, and careful not to bring up the pretzels as you spread) put in the fridge (I’ve done the freezer too) for about 2 hours.

Before you’re ready to make the flag, slice your strawberries.  I had a little help with this.

Michael and the ever vigilant Jimmy by his side.

When the cream cheese layer has set, take out of the fridge and place sliced strawberries and blueberries on top of the cream cheese layer in an American flag pattern.  I recommend mushing the fruit into the cream cheese layer.  Otherwise when you pour the Jello on top of the fruit the fruit can float out of position.  If you look again at the pic at the top, that’s exactly hat happened down in the bottom right-hand corner.  Oh well……

Here is the pre-Jello fuzzy view.  I really need to learn how to take a picture!

I mushed as many blueberries into that square as would fit.  Maybe it really doesn’t look like stars are peeking through, but you I don’t think anyone is going to mistake this for the flag of Puerto Rico or anything.

Also appropriate for the upcoming Labor Day celebration, y’all.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

1 1/2 C. pretzels (I like little pretzel sticks)

1/2 C/ unsalted butter, melted

1/4 C. sugar

For the middle:

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 C. sugar

1 8 oz. container Cool Whip

For the top layer:

Strawberries, sliced

Blueberries.

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