Monday, June 4, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Strawberry Jello Salad with Pretzel Crust

Strawberry jello salad, or any jello, does not fare well in our AZ summer heat, unless one enjoys drinking their salad.  I'm a day late with this post...forgot I planned ahead on this one which was actually made a few months ago, during cooler weather.

This post takes me back to Turkey's birthday.

Young children's birthdays are very special days filled with wonderful excitement and anticipation.  Turkey is my special baking buddy who loved being kidnapped for several hours of cupcake and cookie baking, giving his mom time to wrap a few gifts and to make an A+ Chocolate-Cake-Chocolate-Cheesecake Layered With Ganache And Frosted wIth  her A+ Favorite Bittersweet Chocolotte, Sour Cream Frosting...Decadent!

Turkey also helped "decorate" this Jell-o salad...I think he did a great job!

Of all my grandchildren, Turkey is my most enthusiastic baker.  He was by my side for hours with full attention.  He would not go with Papaw (Hubby) to Sonic to pick up the Wacky Kids Pack he ordered...he was not distracted by anything.  Even late into the night  he was quite busy baking.  He is creative, knows how to be a good helper, and is a great clean-up guy.  He mixes, decorates, sweeps, mops, vacuums, washes dishes, puts soap in the dishwasher, and is happy the entire time.  And he talks to me non-stop...good company.

For his birthday we all got together for an extended family and friends cookout.  The Baked boys Strawberry Jello Salad fit in perfectly.

I am not a fan of Jello which is odd since I grew up in Utah, the Jello capitol of the world...everybody loves Jello in Utah. Every event in Utah includes Jello.  My mom used to make it in some form every week and so did everyone else's mom.  And with such bright colors and such sweet slimy consistency it is kid friendly favorite.

On one occasion I remember making Jello with fruits all by myself at the age of 5.  I also remember spilling the entire bowl of sticky, colored, slimy gelatin filled with Mandarin oranges and fruit cocktail  as I carried it by myself to the fridge.  OOPS!  I hate to think about how sticky the kitchen floor must have been.

While my mother napped  I often did the cooking (Mother thought I was also napping) and then I remember getting the dish rag and cleaning up my mess:  floors, counters, dishes, me, all with the same dish rag  (Gross!)...looking back I probably made a bigger mess.  Well, Jello was the beginning of my cooking days, and Mother was encouraging even though she was always surprised by my creations which magically appeared after her nap.  I don't remember making many messes, but I'll bet I did.  And she never told me not to use the sharp knives or the stove.  She must have figured I'd learn by trial and error, and I did make my share of errors.

At the age of 5 I could boil water which was needed to dissolve the Jello (no microwaves back then) and I could get it all put together and ready for dinner by myself.  I was also good at the type of cheesecake that I made in a pie pan with a graham cracker crust and a filling made with cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk, a little lemon juice and vanilla and with no baking, it just set up in the fridge...well it usually set up.  I had to use my mom's Sunbeam mixer for this job...something I'd never let a 5 year old do.  

Back in the 50's and 60's the in thing was all the new box mixes and time saver pre-made baking Bisquick and cake mixes which I always considered to be gross ingredients for food.  Does anyone remember all the Bisquick pizza crust.  Horrible.  All the mothers made it especially when we invited our friends for dinner.  Such an embarrassment.    Well, Jello is in the same category.  To me, almost a non-food.  I don't remember ever making it for my own children.  I do remember making 4th of July jigglers for my grandkids but considered it to be in the real junk food.

So, for this challenge, I set out to make as good a strawberry jello as possible.  Next time I'll use a size smaller pan which will thicken the layers making them more visible and a little prettier.

I added double the sliced strawberries and that mentally justified this food as OK for dinner.  I also doubled the filling so that I could pipe half as a creamy topping.  I do like this topping as the cream remains whipped and keeps its shape but does not taste     strongly of the cream cheese...more like sweetened whipped cream that has been stabilized.


                                                                              TURKEY TURNS 4
I admit we all liked this Strawberry, pretzel crust, Jell-o salad and it fit into  Turkey's birthday celebration quite well....Jell-o continues to be good kid food.  Turkey and I had such a good time baking and making that I'll have to invent the next reason to bake with him soon.

I look forward to seeing all your Strawberry Jello Salads with the Pretzel Crust...and by the way, this crust is delish!   I might be a Jello convert with this recipe.


  1. Dear o dear!! That birthday cake and strawberry jelly making me very hungry. Looks amazingly delicious and I can't stop my mouth from watering. I hope Turkey enjoyed the birthday very nicely. Thanks
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  2. Gorgeous piping on top! I loved the creamy filling. The strawberry, not so much.

  3. Happy birthday to him! Both desserts look fantastic.

  4. What great memories, Kris. I remember making jello with the fruit as well and that's really the way I prefer it. I did not make this one, but will give it a try sometime as I think I would like the sweet/salty combo. You and Turkey did such a great job decorating it - so pretty!