Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe’s Copycat Recipe
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Have you tried Cowboy Bark?
If you haven’t, don’t even start. It’s so addictively 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve been warned. This stuff is crazy good.
Best use of 5 minutes ever.
- 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
- 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.
- Coarsely chop the chocolate or break into chunks to encourage smooth melting.
- 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.
- Pour melted chocolate onto parchment and with a spatula or offset knife, smooth into a large rectangle, about 10×15-inches, and about 1/8-inch thick; just eyeball.
- Evenly sprinkle with pretzels, Oreos, toffee bits, peanuts, almonds, and sea salt to taste.
- Allow chocolate to set up for at least 1 hour at room temp, or in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 5gSugar: 35gProtein: 6g
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