Tag Archives: pretzels

TJ’s Cowboy Bark


TJ's Cowboy Bark for TJj's Cowbow BarkTJ’s Cowboy Bark is a perfect segment for TV.  Easy, quick and absolutely delicious.  Somebody first told me about Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark and I knew I had to try it. A bark is melted chocolate, spread out and almost anything you wish can be sprinkled on top. The nine ounce package of Cowboy Bark costs about $3.69. You get about 4 times that with this version. The thing that is so interesting about this bark is the add ons. How can you go wrong with oreos, peanuts, almonds, toffee bits and pretzels. Sweet and salty all at once.

Research showed that there are quite a few copycat recipes out there. I picked the one from Averie Cooks at www.averiecooks.com as my starting point. When I read comments about the Cowboy Bark on the web, the most prevalent criticism is the use of semisweet chocolate for the base. It seems people thought it overcame any of the other flavors.

I also thought the chocolate base was really thick. So in I chose instead to use half semisweet chocolate and half milk chocolate to allow all the other add ons to shine. I will say that this combination does make for a softer chocolate base – but really good.

Because all the add ons for the Cowboy Bark need to stick to the chocolate, make sure everything is prepared before you melt the chocolate. Then add them in the order of the recipe to make sure you go from large to small so they all stick to the chocolate. I added another step to insure that everything sticks.

One other suggestion is to use single stuffed oreos. I used double stuffed and they had a tendency to separate when the Cowboy bark was broken into pieces.

Cowboy BarkIngredients for TJ's Cowboy Bark1 pound chocolate, all semisweet or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate, melted
About 1 to 1 1/4 cups salted mini pretzels
7 to 8 oreo cookies cut into quarters (Trader Joe’s Chocolate Jo-Jo’s may be used also)
1/4 to 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted slivered almonds
1/4 to 1/3 cup toffee bits (Heath makes these)

Line a half sheet pan with parchment. Draw a 10×15 inch rectangle on the paper for a thin base or a 10×13 for a little thicker base. Turn the paper over and line the pan. Set aside. Have all other ingredients prepared.

Combine the chocolates if using more than one.  Two chocolates in a bowl for TJ's Cowboy BarkMelt the chocolate or chocolates over a double boiler or at half power in a microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Start with the shortest amount of time. Stir the chocolate until completely melted.  Spread the chocolate within the rectangle on the parchment paper.Melted chocolate poured into a sheet pan for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Chocolate being spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkChocolate spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkPlace the oreos on top of the chocolate,Oreos on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Bark then the pretzels. Pretzels on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy BarkSprinkle the almonds, Almonds on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkpeanuts Peanuts on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkand lastly,  toffee over the chocolate in that order.Brickle on for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Place a piece of waxed paper on top andWaxed paper on top of TJ's Cowboy Bark lightly press all the ingredients into the chocolate.Pressing the waxed paper down on TJ's Cowboy Bark Remove the paper and refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate up

When firm, break into pieces.

Enjoy your very own Cowboy Bark (and try to share some with others)

Close up of bark for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Hot Curried Party Mix


Finished PhotoOk, so Hot Curried Party Mix isn’t a pastry, but you do bake it.  This is a quick snack for anytime but well suited for News Years Eve and the Super Bowl.  (I know I am a little early. – just saying’)

I wonder how many “party mixes” have been concocted since someone first thought of them. Almost anything snacky can be combined and held together with some kind of a binder. The greatest thing about these is how easy they are to prepare. Be sure to make this Hot Curried Party Mix a minimum of one day ahead – a week is better. Stored in an airtight container, this will last a month, if you can keep out of it.

The amount of cayenne pepper in this makes a very zippy snack. If you prefer a milder version, cut the amount by half.

Hot Curried Party Mix

5 cups Chex cereal (rice or corn work the best)
2 1/2 cups mini pretzels
2 cups roasted peanuts (8 ounces)
1 1/4 cups chow mein noodles
4 tablespoons butter melted
1 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with a non stick spray.

Combine the cereal, pretzels, peanuts and noodles in a large bowl.

Whisk the butter, soy sauce, curry powder, cayenne, mustard, salt and honey together. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix together very well. I use a gloved hand to do this as it is pretty sticky. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: Approximately 1 1/4 pounds Hot Curried Party Mix which doesn’t sound like a lot but is.  I doubled it once and hardly had a bowl big enough to hold it all.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Hot Peppered Pecans

Puff Pastry Crackers