Snap off a piece of this easy 5-Ingredient Date Bark next time you crave a sweet treat. Juicy Medjool dates are layered with creamy peanut butter, crunchy peanuts, and melted chocolate. No special equipment needed and no baking required for this recipe!
Recently I had the pleasure of joining Natural Delights during date harvest. What a treat! You can read more about that sponsored trip and everything I learned in this post (along with my vlog). One of the highlights was, of course, the food!
We ate so many dates and all were delicious. From the sweet Medjool dates picked right from the trees to the many different recipes we got to enjoy. But one that I knew I wanted to try again at home was date bark. Have you heard of it?
It was going viral on social media earlier this year after the original idea was shared by That Health Junkie‘s social media account. On the date harvest tour we got to try a variety of different toppings and flavors but I wanted to keep it super simple for this first version I’m sharing. Once you learn the technique, the sky’s the limit for how creative you can get with your flavor pairings!
Why You’ll Love This Date Bark Recipe
- No need to turn on the oven! All you need to make date bark is some parchment paper and enough space in your freezer for a baking sheet or large cutting board.
- Enjoy them for a sweet snack, dessert, after a workout…pretty much any time your sweet tooth flares up.
- They store well in the fridge or freezer, so double the batch if you want more date bark for the future, or if you’re serving a crowd for an event or special occasion.
If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration, check out this roundup with sweet and savory date recipes! There’s over 28 and counting in this list from fellow dietitians and food bloggers.
A Note About Nutrition
A lot of content creators and food bloggers will call date bark “a healthier alternative” or compare it to a traditional candy bar. And that’s fine, you know, if that’s their thing. But my thing is, the “wholesome ingredients” they list are usually not much different than what’s in more processed versions of any sweet treat. It’s still chocolate, refined sugar, roasted nuts, etc.
As a dietitian, I work with people who struggle with a fear of highly processed ingredients. But a preoccupation with “healthy” eating isn’t exactly healthy if it’s causing a lot of stress and anxiety around food. You don’t have to apologize or feel ashamed for craving sweet things. Your taste buds let you experience the full spectrum of flavor. Eating should be enjoyable!
So why make this date bark recipe if you aren’t trying to replace a Snickers bar? That’s up to you to decide, but for me, I wanted to use up some ingredients I already had and I knew it might be fun to try a viral trend from social media at home. Plus, I really like the chewy texture of dates and I don’t enjoy baking. That seems like a good reason to me!
With that out of the way, let’s get into this viral date bark recipe!
Date Bark Ingredients
- Medjool dates. The fresher the better, since juicier dates will have the ideal chewy texture. If your dates feel a little dry, just soak them in hot water for a few minutes and they should soften right up. And if you don’t want to deal with the pits, buy the pitted version if they’re available.
- Peanut butter
- Chopped peanuts (see below for some nut-free alternatives)
- Chocolate chips. Try milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or dark chocolate chips. There’s plenty of natural sweetness from the dates so you can adjust based on your taste preferences.
- Coconut oil. Don’t skip this one! It helps the melted chocolate solidify and set while freezing, kind of like how a homemade chocolate shell hardens when it hits cold ice cream.
You only need a small amount of coconut oil. But if you don’t have any or prefer to avoid, try using almond bark (chocolate) or melting wafers instead. Both of these options will still melt easily and give that rich chocolate flavor.
And if you like a sweet & salty flavor combo, bring out some flaky sea salt. This is an optional addition. If you choose to use it, sprinkle it on after the chocolate starts to set (full instructions below).
As a registered dietitian, I know it can be frustrating to live with food allergies or intolerances. Thankfully, this date bark recipe is easy to modify to be nut-free or dairy-free. It’s already naturally gluten-free.
Try these variations:
- For a peanut-free version: try almond butter or cashew butter instead, and swap the chopped peanuts for another type of tree nut or seed. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans are all great options, but use your preferred ingredients or whatever you already have in your kitchen.
- For a nut-free (school-friendly) version: to go totally nut-free, try sunflower seed butter or tahini in place of the peanut butter. You can swap the crunchy nuts for sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Or, try breaking apart some pretzels so you can still get that crunch in each bite.
- For a dairy-free version: make sure your chocolate chips are dairy-free, as that’s the only ingredient that potentially contains dairy. There are some trusted brands out there that are free from the top allergens, including Enjoy Life. I’ve seen Nestle Toll House and Ghirardelli release allergen-friendly or dairy-free chocolate chips, too.
How To Make Date Bark
To make this date bark recipe, start with pitted dates. If you bought dates that still have the pit, use a small, sharp knife to slice lengthwise. This will split the date open so you can push the pit from the backside and remove it without cutting all the way through the date.
From there, follow this step-by-step guide for how to make date bark:
- Line a baking tray or large cutting board with a piece of parchment paper. Spread the pitted dates open and lay them side by side so they form one cluster or sheet of flattened dates.
- You can use the bottom of a glass with another small piece of parchment paper to press the dates into an even, flat layer (see images below).
- Spread the peanut butter across the top
- Sprinkle the chopped peanuts randomly on top of the peanut butter.
- Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each burst, until fully melted and creamy. Expect this to take 1:30-2:00 depending on your microwave. Spread the chocolate over the top of the date bark. Carefully transfer the tray or board to your freezer, making sure it sits flat and level. Chill for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the freezer.
- Break or cut the date bark into irregular pieces, and enjoy!
Note that if you’re using sea salt, don’t add it right after spreading the melted chocolate. It will just sort of melt in due to the heat of the chocolate. For best results, wait at least 5 minutes until the chocolate begins to set, then you can add it and wait for it to finish freezing.
Date bark should be refrigerated or frozen. Stack it in an airtight container or storage bag, using parchment paper between layers if needed. It will last up to one week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.
Whatever you do, don’t store your date bark at room temperature. The chocolate will probably stay intact, but that layer of peanut butter underneath will soften. When you go to break off a piece or take a bite, you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands.
Now you know everything you need to know to make this date bark recipe. Grab your ingredients and get started!
5-Ingredient Date Bark
- baking sheet or large cutting board
- freezer space, large enough to fit baking sheet or cutting board
- microwave safe bowl
- Soft Spatula
- sharpened knife
- 12-15 large Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- flaky sea salt, optional
- Line a baking tray or large cutting board with a piece of parchment paper.
- Spread the pitted dates open and lay them side by side so they form one cluster or sheet of flattened dates. Use the bottom of a glass or bowl with another small piece of parchment paper to press the dates into an even, flat layer
- Spread the peanut butter across the top, then sprinkle the chopped peanuts randomly on top of the peanut butter.
- Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each burst, until fully melted and creamy. Expect this to take 1:30-2:00 depending on your microwave. Spread the chocolate over the top of the date bark.
- Carefully transfer the tray or board to your freezer, making sure it sits flat and level. Chill for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the freezer. Break or cut the date bark into irregular pieces, and enjoy!
Which viral recipe should I try next? Leave a suggestion in a comment, or just let me know what you think of this date bark recipe.
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Like I always say, cheers to more fearlessly nourishing meals – and snacks!