Thursday, June 12, 2014

{Crazy-Easy Recipe!} How to Make Trader Joe's Copycat Cowboy Bark





I love baking/cooking/making. But in general, I don't love having a ton of fatty treats lying around the house, calling my name. (I mean, I love having them there, but my hips don't.) So here's my kind-of evil trick: I often make things that sound delicious, and that most people would find to be delicious, but that I don't personally love for one reason or another. That way other people eat it, not me. This Cowboy Bark (a copycat of the popular Trader Joe's treat--have you guys ever had it?) is the perfect example. I love the salty-sweet idea of it (chocolate meets cookies meets pretzels meets peanut butter meets toffee--hello), but since I actually don't really like dark chocolate, I won't be inhaling the entire batch in a day. Though don't get me wrong: Dark chocolate or not, it's GOOD--and I ate my share. (Plus, believe me, I'm no saint: I practically nibbled my weight in Heath Bar chips while making it.) 

My husband loved it--and my daughter and I loved making it together. (To make it a little more kid-friendly, I omitted the nuts and subbed in peanut butter chips instead.) It's SUPER easy and requires zero actual cooking. Just a little microwaving, a little sprinkling, a little refrigerating, and again, a whole lotta nibbling.

INGREDIENTS {Recipe courtesy of Averie Cooks}

16 ounces dark chocolate (I used half 72% dark chocolate and half milk chocolate, so that it wasn't too, too dark. Per the original recipe, if only using one type, go with dark.)
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
8 chocolate-stuffed Oreos, roughly chopped
1/3 cup toffee bits
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 cup roasted almonds (Note: I omitted both types of nuts and used 1/3 cup peanut butter chips instead)
sea salt for sprinkling, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Before beginning to melt the chocolate, have all ingredients chopped, prepped, and ready to go, so that they're ready to be added when the chocolate is hot and melty.

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 two to three minutes, stopping every 15 seconds or so to check and stir until mixture can be stirred smooth. Be careful not to scorch it.

4. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment, and with a spatula or offset knife, smooth into a large rectangle, about 10x15 inches and about 1/8-inch thick. Just eyeball it.

5. Evenly sprinkle with pretzels, Oreos, toffee bits, and nuts (or peanut butter chips), plus sea salt to taste.

6. Allow chocolate to set up for at least an hour at room temperature or the freezer for about 30 minutes. (Note: I stuck the tray in the fridge for about 30 to 45 minutes and that worked perfectly.) 

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. 

If you make it, please come back and tell me what you think of it in the comments below. I'd love to hear!

And, ICYMI, here's another crazy-good salty-sweet recipe: These delicious honey-sriracha cashews

For more recipes like this, follow my Mmmm...Dessert board on Pinterest!

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