I have gotten the chance to make a couple things out of the Baked: Explorations book! The first thing I did was the Jello salad. I wanted something light and fruity, and this seemed like a great combo of salty & sweet without being heavy. It turned out very well and everyone enjoyed it!
It is a three layer jello salad, with a pretzel crust, a cream cheese layer, and then the jello with fruit on top. It was pretty simple and would be a great picnic or potluck item. In the picture in the book they made nice slices of this, we opted to do scoops since the crust wasn't holding together. (probably because I didn't have enough butter to get it all stuck to itself)
Here it is
1 (6-ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
2 cups fresh strawberries (about 14-ounces), sliced
8 ounces salty pretzels (about 4 cups)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
Cream Cheese Layer:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
Jello layer: Make the Jell-O according to package directions. Stir in strawberries and refrigerate until partially set. Make other parts of recipe while this sets. *The book says it should be partially set in 5 min-1 hour. I did not find that this was the case, it took a couple hours for mine partially set. That could be because I had it in the front in a deep dish and kept opening to see if it was ready though... :)
Pretzel crust: Heat oven to 350. Butter or spray sides & bottom of a 9x13 pan . Crush up the pretzels. I used the tried and true put them in a bag and bang on them really hard, but you could always use a food processor if you wanted to. You just want to have chunks, so don't grind them into a powder.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and remove from heat. Stir in pretzel pieces until combined and put into prepped pan. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, but not up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then let it cool completely.
Cream cheese layer: Put cream cheese and sugar in goal and beat on medium until well combined.
In a another bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
Assembly: Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Chill for 5 minutes in the fridge. Pour almost set Jell-O over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate the dessert for about 2 hours, or until set.