Thursday, February 24, 2011

Strawberry-Pretzel Salad

Strawberry-Pretzel Salad
Dorcas Annette Walker

Growing up we always had pretzels in our house. Every time we ate ice cream at my grandmother’s house you had a soft fat pretzel with it. While I don’t make homemade pretzels as a special treat like my sister does, I still enjoy eating pretzels with my ice cream- often getting funny looks from others until I talk them into trying it. Some folk to my amazement have never eaten pretzels.

There are two main kinds of pretzels: soft and hard. It is said that hard pretzels began from a baker, who accidently baked his batch of pretzels without first letting them rise and then forgot about them until they became hard and dark. Soft pretzels with their unique knot-like shape (called the pretzel loop) are often served with mustard or dips. The pretzel originated in Europe thought by monks as a way to teach children the Trinity or as a reward for saying prayers. Pretzel baking took firm root in Southern Germany and developed into an emblem of bakers by the 12th century. During the 1500’s the city of Vienna was under siege and was saved by pretzel bakers working through the night, who heard tunneling underground and notified the guard. The grateful emperor awarded the pretzel bakers with an honorary coat of arms. Pretzels were a convenient way to give food to the poor and considered to be a blessing becoming such a scared sign that they were often packed in coffins of the dead. By the 17th century the “marriage knot” was signified by a pretzel wished upon, broken, and eaten together during a wedding ceremony. By the 19th century soft pretzels were introduced to North America by German and Swiss immigrants. In 1850 the Sturgis Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania started the first commercial hard pretzel bakery. A popular treat of crumbling pretzels as a topping and eating them with ice cream became popular and led to the pretzel ice cream cone. Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York became renowned for their soft pretzels during the 20th century. During the Depression era hot pretzel vendors sold inexpensive pretzels on the streets for lunch. A Pretzel Museum was opened in Philadelphia in 1993 and in 2003 the Governor of Pennsylvania declared April 26 as National Pretzel Day.

My Strawberry-Pretzel Salad can also be used as a dessert. This salad has a crunchy nutty-like crust with a creamy filling and jello topping. You can substitute raspberry jello with raspberries or orange jello with mandarin oranges. Preparation time for my Strawberry-Pretzel Salad is around thirty minutes (not counting cooling time) and this recipe serves twelve.

Strawberry-Pretzel Salad

2 c mashed pretzels
2 sticks margarine melted
1 c sugar
8 oz cream cheese
16 oz cool whip
3 (3 oz) boxes of strawberry jello
3 c boiling water
2 c cold water
strawberries optional

Mix pretzels, ½ c sugar, and margarine together and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes at 350ยบ and let cool. Beat cream cheese, other half of sugar, and cool whip together until fluffy. Spread on pretzel crust sealing around the edges and chill. Make jello and let cool for 30 minutes adding strawberries if you desire. Pour on top of cream cheese mixture and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares, garnish with cool whip, and a strawberry!

Weekly tip: To mash pretzels quickly, place in a baggie and crush with the side of a hammer!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:


~~louise~~ said...

Hi Dorcas! What a fun post!!! Thank you so much for sharing your Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I adore the garnish of pretzel history...

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Your welcome. It is amazing what all I discover when researching different food historys. The best part is the eating- ha!