In the spirit of Valentine's Day soon approaching, I thought a festive pink dessert was appropriate. My aunt (aka our household's Martha Stewart of baking) introduced us to the Pampered Chef's version of Strawberry Margarita bars and they are now forever requested at family gatherings. As Paula Abdul used to say on American Idol, these are a "breath of fresh air." Simply refreshing, super easy to make and will never make you feel disgustingly over-stuffed. Don't let the name fool you - there is nothing alcoholic about these.
~Strawberry Margarita Squares~
2 c. mini-twist pretzels (1 c. crushed)
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 c. sugar
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. thawed, frozen margarita mix concentrate (non-alcoholic)
2 containers (8 oz. each) cool whip, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1/2 c. boiling water
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup
Fresh strawberry slices (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, finely crush pretzels in resealable plastic bag with rolling pin. Melt butter in microwave on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Add crushed pretzels and sugar; mix well. Press mixture onto bottom of 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.
2. For filling, beat cream cheese and margarita mix in bowl until well-blended. Fold in 2 cups of cool whip. Using large spatula, carefully spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. Refrigerate while preparing strawberry layer.
3. Place gelatin in small bowl. Stir in boiling water; stir until completely dissolved. Add frozen strawberries and stir until strawberries separate and gelatin is thickened (a spoon drawn through mixture will leave an impression). Whisk in 3 cups of the cool whip using wire whisk. Pour over cream cheese layer, spreading to edges. Refrigerate 3 hours to set.
4. Cut dessert into 15 squares. Optional: garnish each with remaining cool whip and top with sliced strawberries.
I hope this ends your weekend on a sweet note! xo