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!

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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 10×15-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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115 comments on “Cowboy Bark: Trader Joe’s Copycat Recipe”

  1. I have never even heard of cowboy bark! It looks amazing and I love any kind of dessert bark! It’s actually my little sister’s favorite kind of dessert. Love the sweet and salty mix Averie :) Pinned!

  2. I’m getting the feeling that this bark is crazy-addicting. And the fact that it comes together so quickly is even scarier, especially if you didn’t have a lot of people in the house to help you eat it. I could easily see myself eating an entire batch of this sweet n’ salty bark it looks so good. Gorgeous photos as always and pinned!

  3. I never heard of it but it looks like something I’d quickly become addicted to. Thanks for expanding my foodie world. :)
    Happy Thursday Averie! Pinning.

  4. This bark has got my name written all over it. Seret salty, chocolate goodness. Man I need this in my life now!

  5. Wow I think I would become addicted to this stuff! What a great salty and sweet snack! Pinned!

  6. Wow–I was just at TJ’s 2 weeks ago–how did I miss that stuff?!? No worries–I can make it now. Loaded bark with all sorts of good crunchy things. Just my style. It can’t really be that addictive….can it? :)

    • It’s a fairly new item for them, maybe 2-3 months old…and it’s SO GOOD. It’s easy to miss b/c in my store, they keep it above the frozen fruit on a small shelf in a little bag. It’s a very oddball place to keep it IMO. It’s not like with chips, or other chocolate bars. It is near other snacky stuff but it’s easy to miss even when you know what you want. They used to sample it and that’s what sold me on it!

  7. This bark looks addictive! It’s probably a good thing we don’t have TJ’s in Canada! Pinned!

  8. Yes, I have tried it. Ate the entire bag myself! I do have to say, your’s is a lot prettier. And I bet it tastes better, too!

    • The bag is 9 oz which is pretty small as you know and it’s VERY easy to eat the whole bag yourself. I do not see how they get 6 servings out of that. At all! ha!

      And thanks for saying mine is a lot prettier. I gave it to 3 taste testers who all said they like mine better which is ironic since I used TJs chocolate to make a copycat of their…chocolate bark. But I was much more generous with the toppings/add-ons.

  9. Trader Joe’s are no longer convenient to where I live, but people keep telling me about Cowboy Bark. So glad I can now make my own!

  10. I’ve never had it. BUT OMG I WANT IT. This is so dangerous. And you’re right. 6 servings? pfffft. Chocolate, pretzels, Oreos…this is the best!

  11. Beautiful colours and it has got to be delicious!!

  12. That looks absolutely amazing! I love all the toppings

  13. Remember when I said I wished I had a TJs nearby? I take it back. That would be SO dangerous. I mean, this looks about as easy as you can get (and hella delicious), but i’m way less inclined to make it than to buy it.

    Which is a GOOD thing. ;)

    • This is one of those crazy good products you cannot buy OR you have to have a ridic degree of self-control. In a house full, and I do mean HOUSE FULL of treats and snacks, even I have a hard time forgetting that this stuff is in my pantry!

  14. Now that’s some serious chocolate bark, loaded up with so many delicious ingredients! I’ve been craving chocolate bark for the past few days and looking at this is almost more than I can stand. :)

  15. Oh my god, oh my god! Pinned! You have touched upon my ultimate weakness, Averie, It’s why I love kettle popcorn and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Sweet and salty! :) Your photography is fantastic, as well. I love all the different angles you captured!

  16. How have I missed this at Trader Joe’s? Not that it matters now. I will making this soon. Looks so good!

  17. This looks so good! I love love LOVE the combo of salty and sweet! Great idea! I have to tell you… I love your blog!! You have the most delicious looking recipes!! Seriously, so yummy!!

  18. Just seeing all your pictures is making me want to whip up my own batch immediately! All the flavors and textures sound incredible.

  19. Oh my goodness I nearly jumped with excitement when I saw this pop up in my Pinterest feed! I am OBSESSED with Trader Joe’s cowboy bark! And I love how easy your recipe is! Plus anything homemade is healthier than store bought right? So eating half this batch in one sitting must be acceptable :)
    When I make this I’m going to try adding peanut butter chips and maybe some caramel sauce!
    Thanks for the great recipe :)

  20. I have to admit, I have never made bark. However that is all about to change! This cowboy bark is my tastebud’s dream come true! Salty, sweet, plenty of texture, loving it! Pinned!

  21. How perfect! I’ve never had this bark, but it sounds amazing! I want to make it but I am kinda afraid to, haha! Pinned! : )

  22. Rhetorical question, right? I can eat a bag in one sitting easily. Have you tried their holiday version? Sooooo good. It’s similar, but with their mini PB cups! Buy tons of it at X-Mas.
    Thanks for sharing!

  23. Love this! This looks amazingly good, perfect for the next road trip :)

  24. Wow, this bark looks insanely gorgeous! I’ve never had cowboy bark before but I’m loving the sound of these sweet and salty treats! Between the toffee bits, peanuts, almonds and Oreos – oh ma gosh and of course the sea salt! The fact that they are so easy to make is just icing on the bark! Pinning!

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