Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com by Christina Provo

Yields 8-16 servings

Ingredients -

2 1/2 cups finely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces Neufchâtel cram cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulate sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or lemon extract
4 ounces (half a container) Cool Whip, at room temperature
1 16 ounce container of fresh strawberries
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 packages of strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water

Directions -
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the crushed pretzels with the sugar and butter. Press mixture on the bottom and about 1 - 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. A small glass can help press the crust into the creases and sides, if needed. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool completely.

  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until combined. Beat in lemon juice or extract. Stir in one third of the cool whip to lighten the mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining cool whip. Pour into the prepared crust. Refrigerate while you prepare the strawberries and jello.

  3. Hull and slice the package of strawberries. Place in a bowl and toss with sugar. If the strawberries are very tart, use the full amount.

  4. Pour the contents of the jello packets into a heat-proof plastic container; stir in the boiling water until powder is dissolved. Refrigerate until mixture has cooled and is partially set.

  5. When jello is of proper consistency, stir in the sliced strawberries and any accumulated juice. Pour on top of cream cheese layer, smoothing the top if necessary. Refrigerate overnight.

  6. To cleanly slice, dip a serrated knife into hot water and wipe off with a paper towel. Repeat process before each new slice.
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