Deconstructing strawberry pretzel salad all started when I bought a bag of the new HERSHEY’S cream cheese flavored chips in December. I’d planned to use them for Christmas baking. However, I ran out of time and didn’t deviate from my traditional baking list.
After the new year, I thought about how I could use the flavor of cream cheese in something that I couldn’t actually use real cream cheese. Dipping pretzels into the melted chips seemed like a good idea, which made me think about strawberry pretzel salad.
What is Strawberry Pretzel Salad?
We Midwesterners grew up eating strawberry pretzel salad at nearly every church basement potluck, family reunion and family Easter luncheon. Of course, “salad” is a loose term here, much like our beloved Snickers Apple Salad is.
The salad crust is crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter. Then we layer it with a creamy mixture of cream cheese, sugar and Cool Whip. We top it off by stirring up a box of strawberry gelatin, adding frozen strawberry slices and juice, and pouring it over the cream cheese. Once the salad sets up in the refrigerator, we slice it and serve the squares as a side dish to our meal.
How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad Sticks
Because I deconstructed the salad recipe into a treat on a stick, you only need four ingredients (five if you want to make sprinkle rods):
It doesn’t take much time to make strawberry pretzel salad pretzel sticks. Just set yourself up with a pot to melt the chips on the stove or a bowl to melt them in the microwave. I use the stove and then pour it into a measuring cup so I can dip the sticks deep.
Place the freeze-dried strawberries in a shallow container large enough to roll a pretzel rod in. With your fingers, lightly crush up the strawberries into little pieces. Lay out a piece of foil or wax or parchment paper for the finished rods to cool on.
The freeze-dried strawberries soften a little, but the softer texture complements the crunchy pretzel rod nicely.
The red and white colors are pretty and would be a fun gift to package into clear treat bags and tie with a ribbon for Valentine’s Day treats.
But what if you can’t find the new HERSHEY’S cream cheese flavored chips or freeze-dried strawberries?
Cream Cheese Chips: use almond bark or white chocolate bars or chips if you can’t find the cream cheese chips. Another option is to use white candy melts like the ones I used to make Mummy Cake Balls.
Freeze-dried Strawberries: use any freeze-dried fruit if you can’t find strawberries. If that’s not an option, use a fun cereal like Fruity Pebbles or Special K with Strawberries.
Pretzel Rods: if your store is out of pretzel rods, or maybe you just want to use something smaller, dip small pretzels in melted chips and sprinkle with fruit. Or, because we all love Oreo cookies, maybe dip Oreos in melted chips and sprinkle with freeze-dried strawberries, similar to Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies.
Just have fun with it and switch it up for other holidays throughout the year. I can’t wait to see YOUR creations so please, share on social media using the hashtag #oursweetmidwestlife.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad Sticks
- 24 pretzel rods
- 8 oz HERSHEY'S cream cheese flavored chips
- 2.4 oz freeze-dried strawberries , 2 (1.2-ounce) packages
- 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil, optional
- Valentine sprinkles, optional
- Place the freeze-dried strawberries in a shallow container long enough to roll a pretzel rod. Crush up the strawberries into bite-size pieces with your fingers.
- Lay out a piece of foil or wax or parchment paper so you can place the rods with melted chips on it to cool.
- If using sprinkles, have them ready.
- Place cream cheese flavored chips in a pot and slowly melt over low heat. OR, place in a microwave safe bowl and melt the chips in the microwave. Optional, add 1 teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil to make smoother.
- Dip the pretzels in the melted chips at least halfway down the rod. Tap off the excess. Immediately roll in the crushed strawberries, and/or drizzle with sprinkles.
- Place pretzel on the foil or paper and let cool until hard, about 10 minutes. Store in airtight container.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets