Strawberry Pretzel Salad Ice Cream

strawberry pretzel salad ice cream | sunsets on the side

strawberry pretzel salad ice cream | sunsets on the side

Strawberry pretzel salad is one of those magical foods from back when I was little.  You know the one…a pretzel crust, a layer of cream cheese filling, strawberries and jello on top?  It made an appearance at nearly every special occasion, it was incredibly delicious, and even though it tasted exactly like a dessert it was always somehow served with the main course like it was ‘regular’ food.  Then, dessert came afterwards.

2 desserts for the price of 1.

See?  I told you it was magical.

Today, we’re turning those flavors into ice cream because it’s high time we get this ice cream train started for the summer, no?  The weather has certainly been heating up, and I’ve been getting the most incredible strawberries at the store lately.  They’re definitely the best yet this year.

Between the strawberry sauce, the cream cheese base, and the mixed-in pretzel pieces, this ice cream tastes just like the (magical) strawberry pretzel salad you remember…only this really is a dessert.  And, this frozen treat would make a great finale for an upcoming Memorial Day picnic you might be hosting.  You can make it well in advance, so you don’t have to worry about it the day of (or even the day before) your party.  Just grab some cones from the grocery store, and you’ll have the perfect post-cookout indulgence.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Ice Cream
Makes: 12
  • ~~~ Strawberry Sauce ~~~
  • 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • ~~~ Ice Cream ~~~
  • 14 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temp
  • ¼ cup sour cream, at room temp
  • ½ cup broken pretzel pieces or chips
  1. For the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until completely incorporated. Combine cornstarch mixture, sugar, berries, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 6-7 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened. Cool. Refrigerate until chilled.
  2. For the ice cream: In a stand mixer, mix cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add sugar and salt. Mix until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add milk.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and whisk until milk is totally incorporated into the cream cheese mixture.
  6. Fold in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate at least three hours or overnight.
  7. Pour chilled mixture into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is at soft serve stage (about 8-10 minutes), pour the strawberry sauce and the pretzel pieces into the machine and let mix.
  8. Transfer ice cream to freezer-safe container and freeze until firm.

Ice cream adapted from Cuisinart.

Strawberry Lime Cheesecakes with Pretzel Graham Crust

strawberry lime cheesecakes with pretzel graham crust | sunsets on the side

strawberry lime cheesecakes with pretzel graham crust | sunsets on the side

This is probably my favorite time of year in St. Pete.  The humidity typically hasn’t picked up yet.  The temperatures are still cool.  It actually feels like spring.  Spring training adds a festive energy all around the area.  We usually get a lot of fun visitors from the north who just can’t take it anymore.

And, we have local strawberries.

Life is good.

When I originally started playing around with this recipe, I was using fresh strawberries.  And, darn it if I just couldn’t get it to work.  I buzzed up the strawberries, made a sauce, mixed the sauce into the cheesecake mixture, and…it just wasn’t tasting right.  So, I ultimately switched over to strawberry jam, and that worked like a breeze.

I sort of want to apologize to our local strawberries for skipping them this time, but I’m sure I’ll figure out plenty of uses for them in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, break out your jam, and try this little taste of spring.  Whether your temperatures are starting to inch upwards or it’s still a deep freeze where you live, this may just be a nice change of pace from your winter menu.

Strawberry Lime Cheesecakes with Pretzel Graham Crust
Makes: 8 servings
  • ~~~For Crust~~~
  • 4 whole graham crackers
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 4 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • ~~~For Filling~~~
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup strawberry jam
  • 1 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  1. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and pretzels with the sugar until they’re broken into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process to combine.
  2. Distribute crumbs evenly between 8 (6-oz.) ramekins, and press firmly into the bottom. Refrigerate the crusts while making the filling.
  3. Place the cold cream and 1 tsp. vanilla in a large bowl. With a hand mixer, begin to beat the cream on very low speed. Once it starts to thicken, turn the speed of the mixer up and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. With a mixer on medium speed, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Add in the strawberry jam, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until combined.
  5. With a spatula, fold in half of the whipped cream.
  6. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the ramekins, and top each serving with a spoonful of the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with additional lime zest and sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.
  7. Chill for at least one hour or until ready to serve.

Filling adapted from Rachael Ray.