So on Sunday afternoon, I was feeling like cooking or baking, and now with all of the cookies finished (more to come soon on that), I thought I’d work ahead for Thanksgiving and make Donna H.’s Strawberry Pretzel Salad (p. 15). Before I settled on making the salad, though, I had a fairly epic baking failure.
So at the last cooking club, these cooking geniuses all showed up at the library with their amazing Thanksgiving dishes to inspire our own holidays. One woman brought Parker House Rolls. They melted in your mouth–like butter! They were so delicious!
I said to someone, “I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try this recipe,” and my friend responded, “What’s there to be afraid of? You’ve got the recipe all laid out for you.”
Well, there’s a lot to be afraid of when you’re kind of a disaster-waiting-to-happen like me.
Recently, I heard a description of what happens when an airplane crashes. Most of the time, the author said, the pilot is blamed for the final mistake, but often the fault can be laid at a series of small mishaps and errors made by a variety of people. The co-pilot might spill his coffee on the control panel, and then when the tech is called in, he doesn’t notice that another part of the panel shorted out. Once aloft, they run into a storm, and lightning strikes the plane. This isn’t always a big deal, but because part of the controls were already compromised, it causes major problems. And then when the pilot turns left instead of right, an engine fails, and the flight is doomed.
I think this is how it is with most things, and is definitely true for me in my cooking when one mistake after another piles up to a giant snowball of cooking failure.
My first error? I didn’t study the recipe carefully to see how much yeast to buy. So I was trying to do my best to halve the recipe.
My next task after figuring out the math was to proof the yeast. So I heated water to the just-right temperature, between 110-120 degrees. I heated it in the microwave for a little too long, so I added some cold water, and bam–I got 118 degrees. Okay, ready!
So I dumped my yeast packets in the water and started stirring, only after I realized I had not measured the water. I had dumped all of my yeast into what amounted to about 3 times the amount of water I needed. Sheesh…
Well, there went that recipe down the tubes.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
So, instead, I decided to make the strawberry salad (p. 15). I assumed when I started this recipe that it was similar to the strawberry cream cheese salad my family makes, which is basically a strawberry jello salad with chunks of cream cheese added. Yum.
But this one is more of a layered deal. First step is to crush the pretzels. I just sort of squooshed them in a plastic bag. Hopefully I got them crushed enough.
Then, combine pretzels with some sugar and butter. By the way, butter is not in this recipe, so I added 4 T, and that seemed to be enough. Press the mixture into the bottom of a pan (I used a 9×9 pan and only made 3/4 of the recipe since our family is small) and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 min.
Then the creamy layer of sugar, whipped topping, and cream cheese is added. This layer could definitely be lightened up. It calls for a full cup of sugar–I think half of that would do just fine.
This layer is followed by the frozen strawberries and jello.