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. Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this! So excited I can make it at home. Love anything sweet and salty!

  2. I’m so sad that there are no Trader Joes in Canada…although that might be a good thing for my waistline! Your bark looks incredible, Averie. I love the salty sweet combo of ingredients on top. My pantry needs a good cleaning out – I should toss all of my left over ingredients overtop of melted chocolate to make bark! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  3. I feel like I need to go for a run just looking at the pics! Incredible andI love sweet and salty! Craving and pinning…. and craving!

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Gorgeous bark, love the salty-sweet flavors. Pinned!

  5. Averie, may I move into your pantry?? It sounds like a chocoholic’s dream! I can only trust myself to stock a few varieties of their small 3-pack chocolate bars in my “pantry” (aka two drawers and a shelf in the dining room). Anything more than that and I’d skip lunch and dinner every day because I was gorging on so much chocolate! And somehow, despite my huge love affair with TJ’s, I haven’t seen their cowboy bark. Such a shame… Or not, seeing as you’ve replicated it and made it even better! You can never have too many toppings, especially of the sweet-and-salty variety. ;)

  6. omg Trader Joes cowboy bark is so addicting! I don’t know that I would ever try to make it myself, however — that would make things too easy hahaha

  7. I’ve never tried the Trader Joes version but I bet anything homemade is even better! This looks delicious!

  8. My sister makes the saltine-toffee bark at xmas, it’s incredibly addicting. I’ve never heard of Cowboy bark but this looks just as divine!

  9. I have not had the Trader Joes Cowboy Bark but now I definitely want to try it, or better yet, try your recipe!

    You’re right, there is just something great about the sweet/salty combination. A gal I work with brought in some dark chocolate bark with pumpkin seeds and sea salt. I want to eat the entire bag!

    Great recipe, Averie. Pinned.

  10. I LOVE TJ’s Cowboy Bark. And I totally agree that no way are there six servings in that bag – I eat one big piece and it seems like most of the bag has gone already! I’m going to make this instead and maybe it’ll last me more than a few hours ;)

  11. Oh my goodness, now THIS looks addicting. Wow. And I love your photos! Pinned!

  12. One of the best things about having a food blog is the need to constantly create new recipes which also means having a go at recreating your favorite things! I’m an American living in England (for the last 10 years) and in the last few months, have taught myself to re-create all the lovely American foods I can’t get here! What fun it’s been! I love your blog! You have been a real inspiration to me! Thank you for that! :-)

    • Thanks for the great comment and good luck to you as you continue to recreate things…it’s so much fun for me to do that, actually. It’s like the thrill of the hunt, so to speak. Trying to see just how close I can get to the real thing!

  13. I love that chocolate is a staple in your pantry….this bark looks so good…I haven’t seen it at Traders..heading there today.

  14. I’ve never tried TJ’s version, but now I’m nervous too, considering how absolutely addicting yours looks. It looks so dangerous(ly good). Love how quickly it comes together. Pinning! :)

  15. I’ve never had the Trader Joe’s version but now I don’t need too! I’m sure your version is 100000000x better!

  16. I know you said you used a combo of chocolate. Did you use one bar of each? I want to make it exactly as you the first time :)
    Thanks!

    • I have all 3 kinds of bars on hand and used equal parts of each bar: 72%, dark, milk. You’re maybe only going to need one-third of each bar and they’re 7 bucks a piece or so, so you’d need to buy $20+ worth of chocolate if you want to do it like I did. I bake for a living so I always have so much chocolate but that’s why I gave the option for others who don’t to just use their fave dark choc. Enjoy!

  17. We don’t have a Trader Joe’s in Canada and it makes me so sad! These look incredible, so perhaps I’ll try to make a variation at home.

    And I just found your blog -it’s gorgeous! :)

  18. What a perfect sweet and salty snack!

  19. How did I miss this? I’ve never had Cowboy Bark but no need to buy it- I’m totally going to make this!!

  20. I just finished a bag of this yesterday and was thinking about making my own. Can’t wait to. Thanks.

  21. I have a friend who told me how much I need to try cowboy bark and I was sad because there are no TJ’s near me but YOU’VE SAVED THE DAY! Making these, for suuure!

  22. This would be a dangerous snack in my house… I’m sure I would eat it all, and not want to share any!! ;) Pinned!

  23. This looks great!! Was wondering if I could substitute almond bark for the TJ chocolate??

  24. I’ve had more than one bag of this stuff from TJ’s…can’t wait to try yours, thank you!! (Yes, it is SO addictive- I have to hide it from myself!)

  25. There’s a rumor that Trader Joes may be coming to our town. I can hope for that, but in the meantime I think I’ll like your recipe even more!

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