Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe’s Copycat Recipe

Have you tried Cowboy Bark?

If you haven’t, don’t even start. It’s so addictively good.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

Which is why I’m not sure why I made my own bark that’s every bit as good as the real deal.

Having the ability to make bulk quantities is dangerous since I can down a bag of the Trader Joe’s version in a day if I let myself. Six servings in one little 9-ounce bag? No way.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

Now I have an endless supply in my cupboard, and I stashed some in the freezer, and I gave plenty away.

The bark only takes about 5 minutes to make, making it the perfect fast, easy, and extremely satisfying treat.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

It’s just melted chocolate, topped with a mixture of toffee bits, peanuts, almonds, pretzels, Oreos, and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Sounds simple enough, but there’s something about the combination that’s just irresistible. Salty-and-sweet treats can do no wrong.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

And the bark is a texture lover’s dream. The smooth, rich chocolate that melts in your mouth is in contrast with crunchy and salty peanuts and almonds and crispy pretzels. The sweet buttery toffee bits and crunchy Oreos provides so many flavor combinations in every bite. The more you eat, the more you want.

For the chocolate, I used a mixture of Trader Joe’s chocolate bars. I used equal parts of the 72% Pound Plus, Dark Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate bars. I have a well-stocked pantry of chocolate and can manifest bulk quantities of chocolate in any percentage from 60 to 90% at the drop of a hat.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

For authenticity, if you’re only using one chocolate, I’d use TJ’s Dark Chocolate bar or your favorite dark chocolate. Definitely not milk, and don’t go too dark so that it’s bitter. A nice, middle of the road dark chocolate is best.

For the toppings, if you don’t have all of them on hand, mix and match based on what you do have.

I went a little heavier-handed than the Trader does with the quantity of nuts, pretzels, and toffee bits. The more, the merrier.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

For the cookies, use Chocolate Jo-Jo’s or chocolate-filled Oreos for maximum authenticity, but traditional Oreos are fine. It’s cookies for candy-making. There are no wrong choices.

The batch makes about 4 times what you’d get in one $3.69 9-ounce bag. For me, it’s definitely cheaper to make than to buy because I already have all those things on hand.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

You’ve been warned. This stuff is crazy good.

Best use of 5 minutes ever.

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty-and-sweet & supremely good!

Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe - Just like the real thing & ready in 5 minutes. Salty, sweet & supremely good!

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Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe's Copycat Recipe

The bark only takes about 5 minutes, making it the perfect fast, easy, and extremely satisfying treat. It's just melted chocolate, topped with a mixture of toffee bits, peanuts, almonds, pretzels, Oreos, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Sounds simple enough, but there’s something about the combination that’s just irresistible. Salty-and-sweet treats can do no wrong. The bark is a texture lover’s dream full of smooth richness along with crispy and crunchy in every bite. Use your favorite dark Chocolate bar, definitely not milk, and don't go too dark so that it's bitter. For the toppings, if you don't have all of them on hand, mix and match based on what you do have. The batch makes about 4 times what you’d get in one $3.69 9-ounce bag, enough to share with friends and they'll love you for it. Before beginning to melt the chocolate, have everything else chopped, prepped and ready to go.

Yield: about 36 ounces

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: about 30 minutes, for setting up

Ingredients:

16 ounces dark chocolate (1 pound; I used equal parts TJ's 72% Pound Plus, Dark Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate Bars; if only using one, select a favorite dark chocolate)
about 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
8 chocolate-stuffed Oreos, roughly chopped (or use TJ's Chocolate Jo-Jo's; regular Oreos may be substituted)
1/3 cup toffee bits
1/3 cup coarsely chopped peanuts (I used roasted lightly salted)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds (I used roasted lightly salted)
sea salt for sprinkling, to taste

Directions:

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper; set aside. Before beginning to melt the chocolate, have all the ingredients chopped, prepped, and ready to go so that they're ready to be added while the chocolate is hot and melty. I use my Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor to grind the nuts in seconds rather than hand-chopping, but I hand-chop the cookies.
  2. Coarsely chop the chocolate or break into chunks to encourage smooth melting.
  3. Place chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power to melt, about 2 to 3 minutes, stopping every 15 seconds to check and stir until mixture can be stirred smooth. Be careful not to scorch it; or use a double boiler.
  4. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment and with a spatula or offset knife, smooth into a large rectangle, about 10x15-inches, and about 1/8-inch thick; just eyeball.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with pretzels, Oreos, toffee bits, peanuts, almonds, and sea salt to taste.
  6. Allow chocolate to set up for at least 1 hour at room temp, or in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  7. After chocolate has set, break into pieces or chop with a knife. Bark will keep airtight at room temp for many weeks and in the fridge or freezer for many months.

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95 Responses to “Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe’s Copycat Recipe”

  1. #
    51
    Judy Uhl — June 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    what would be a good middle of the road dark chocolate, not too bitter? No TJs here either.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 12th, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Just use your favorite dark chocolate candy bar to eat. Something you enjoy eating on it’s own – that’s what the overall flavor of the bark is going to be so pick your favorite.

      Reply

  2. #
    52
    Kathi — August 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    would like to include your cowboy bark recipe on my blog along with one of your pictures and reference your blog with a link if you don’t mind? I would use my own picture but truthfully I ate all of mine before I took a picture (c;
    This recipe, by the way is to die for….

    Reply

  3. #
    53
    Ami — August 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Oh Ehm Gee!! I just tried TJ’s version and I snarfed the entire bag in one sitting!! My only complaint is that almost all of the texture fell off the bark to the bottom of the bag! I will definitely be making this version and hopefully most if not all of the texture will stay on long enough to enjoy it!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 22nd, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Some bags of theirs I’ve found are pretty beat up and half the toppings are on the bottom – such a shame! I think with homemade, it’s virtually impossible to beat these up to the point you’ll lose nearly any toppings!

      Reply

  4. #
    54
    Jennifer — October 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    what type of toffee bits do you use?

    Reply

  5. #
    55
    Megan — October 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Do you know what size baking sheet you used for this?

    Reply

    • Megan replied: — October 12th, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Never mind, I see the rectangle size that you listed.

      Reply

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