Oh, how I have craved this dish! My first experience with this recipe was in the form of layered bars made my my mother-in-law several years ago. It was indulgent, yet refreshing at the same time. A perfect combination of cool and creamy, sweet and crunchy, with a bit of saltiness to balance it all.
And although the bars were practically perfect in every way, I believe my mash-up here provides all the same textures and flavors in a simplified serving method—just grab a spoon and dig in!
We took this dish along with us to our nephew’s 1st Birthday party, and boy was it a crowd pleaser! I’m tellin’ ya… you can’t go wrong showing up to a party with this one.
I used my Cuisinart Food Processor and Kitchenaid Stand Mixer to help me out, but you could definitely make this without any special equipment.
Here is our lineup…
I started off by pulsing the pretzels and pecans in the food processor until they were finely chopped, but not powdered. Then I stirred in the melted butter and brown sugar using a spatula.
The “pretzel-pecan crack” mixture gets spread onto a sheet pan and popped into a 400 degree oven for 7-10 minutes. I didn’t do this, but I suggest leaving open space in the center of the pan because the outer edges will cook faster than the center. You’ll want it to be bubbly all over, but not overly brown when you pull it out of the oven.
While your crack is baking, you can work on the Jello Fluff. Boil 1 cup of water on the stove, remove it from the heat and stir in the Jello powder until completely dissolved. Then add the marshmallows and stir until they are mostly melted.
Mix together the softened cream cheese and pineapple (including the juice), then add the Jello mixture and stir it all together until evenly incorporated. There will be some lumps. No worries.
Pop the Jello mixture into the fridge for 30-45 minutes, or until partially set. By this time your pretzel-pecan crack should be out of the oven and cooling.
Next, chop your strawberries into small pieces and break the cooled crack into about 1-inch pieces.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the pretzel-pecan crack to be sprinkled on top of the salad.
Grab the Jello out of the fridge and gently fold in the Cool Whip. When that is evenly combined, fold in the strawberries and as much crack as you want…it’s good stuff so don’t be shy.
Pile it all into a pretty bowl, sprinkle the reserved strawberries and crack on top and prepare for the ooohs, aaahhhs and yummmms.
For a printable version of the recipe, CLICK HERE
Strawberry & “Pretzel-Pecan Crack” Jello Fluff Salad
2 c. crunchy pretzels, chopped into tiny pieces (makes about 1 c. chopped)
1 c. pecan halves (or 1/2 c. chopped pecans)
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. boiling water
1 small box of Jello Strawberry geletin powder
1/2 package of Jet-Puffed mini marshmallows (about 3 cups or 5 oz.)
8 oz. can Dole crushed pineapple
8 oz. Philidelphia cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 (16 oz) package of fresh strawberries, topped and chopped
For the Pretzel-Pecan Crack – Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine chopped pretzels, chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet, leaving some empty space in the middle of the pan. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture is golden brown and bubbling all over. Remove from the oven and place aside to cool.
Once cool and crispy, break into about 1-inch pieces.
For the Jello Fluff – Heat the water in a sauce pan on the stove, once it comes to a rolling boil, remove from the heat and stir in the contents of the Jello package until completely dissolved. Stir in the mini marshmallows until they mostly disovlve.
Combine the softened cream cheese with the pineapple and juice. Add the warm Jello mixture and stir until well combined. There will probably be some lumps of cream cheese and bits of marshmallow, and that’s okay.
Refrigerate the Jello Fluff for 30-45 minutes or until partially set. Gently fold in the Cool Whip.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the chopped strawberries and 1/2 cup of the crack to be sprinkled on top of the salad. Stir the remaining strawberries and crack into the Jello Fluff.
Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with toppings and refrigerate until ready to serve.