TJ'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 Bark1 pound chocolate, all semisweet or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate, melted
About 1 to 1 ¼ cups salted mini pretzels
7 to 8 oreo cookies cut into quarters (Trader Joe's Chocolate Jo-Jo's may be used also)
¼ to ⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
¼ to ⅓ cup roasted slivered almonds
¼ to ⅓ cup toffee bits (Heath makes these)
Line a half sheet pan with parchment. Draw a 10x15 inch rectangle on the paper for a thin base or a 10x13 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. Melt the chocolate or chocolates over a double boiler or at half power in a microwave for 2 ½ 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.
Place a piece of waxed paper on top and lightly press all the ingredients into the chocolate. 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)