The classic combination of crisp apples with rich caramel is taken to a whole new level with natural caramel flavor from dates and velvety dark chocolate in this Caramel Apple Date Bark. Every bite is filled with the tartness of green apples, bitter dark chocolate, sweet dates, and a crunch from peanuts. It's perfect for fall gatherings.
If you're loving all the viral stuffed date and date bark recipes, you're going to love this one, too! While I love the rendition that makes it tastes just like a Snickers bar, I also had this idea of using dates as a base for a caramel apple vibe during the fall season.
I swear you can trick anyone in to eating a ton of this. The medjool dates lend a natural deep caramel flavor. When it's coated in dark chocolate.. oof, it's the perfect pairing. It's then topped with my favorite caramel apple toppings - shredded coconut and crunchy peanuts.
Biting into this Caramel Apple Date Bark is much better than biting into a hard, crunchy whole apple where the caramel ends up all over your face and the toppings are on the ground.
I joined Natural Delights in September 2023 for their date harvest in Yuma, Arizona where I even won a competition for the best date bark. We were challenged to make bark with at least a dozen different ingredients.
The judges are experts in all things dates, so I knew I had to get this recipe on my site immediately. I mean, it's an award-winning recipe!
Why you'll love this Recipe
Personally, I am obsessed with this recipe and am definitely keeping date bark in the freezer for a quick, nutritious snack.
- This date bark topped with apples tastes just like a caramel apple!
- It's a perfect snack made with only a few whole ingredients, plus a little chocolate.
- This is a no-bake dessert, so it comes together really fast.
- You don't have to use peanuts or coconut. It can easily accommodate any dietary restrictions by making it nut-free or using vegan chocolates. It's also naturally gluten-free.
Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
- Dates - Medjool dates are the best variety for date bark. They're large, soft, and sweet compared to other varieties. There are many health benefits to adding them into your diet, such as added vitamins and minerals and high fiber (WebMD). They're available pre-pitted at the grocery store by brands like Natural Delights and Joolies (Amazon) which makes this recipe quicker.
- Apple - Any type of apple variety will work, but I especially love this date bark with tart green apples since the chocolate is so sweet. A combination of red and green apples work, too!
- Coconut oil - Makes the chocolate smooth and glossy.
- Chocolate - The chocolate acts as a glue for the toppings. Dark chocolate is an incredible pairing with the deep caramel flavor from the medjool dates. While I tried high quality dark chocolate fèves from Valrhona, I actually ended up liking the Hershey's dark chocolate chips for this. The white chocolate drizzle is optional but it's sooo good.
- Toppings - Peanuts are a classic caramel apple topping and the crunch adds texture to the soft dates. I also like shredded coconut with this recipe, but there are so many other toppings that would be great on this.
- Flaky sea salt - The little sprinkling of salt enhances the flavor of the date bark. Maldon flaky salt (Amazon) is always my go to.
How to make Date Bark
Start with prepping all the ingredients -
- Pit the dates if they don't come pitted.
- Chop half an apple into small cubes.
- Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate with a half tablespoon of coconut oil each. I do 15-30 second intervals in the microwave until it's fully melted.
- Chop the peanuts, if desired.
Line a ⅛ sheet tray with parchment paper, with enough hanging over so that it can be removed. Split the dates open and lay them out close together on the tray. Cover the dates with more parchment paper and smash them with the bottom of a bowl or glass.
Tip: Ensure that the dates overlap with little to no holes. The stickyness will help bind them together to make it more enjoyable as you eat the bark.
Slather the dark chocolate all over the surface of the dates. This will be the glue for your toppings. Then, cover the chocolate with your toppings - in this case, shredded coconut and diced apples.
Drizzle the melted white chocolate all over. Top it with a sprinkle of flaky salt. Then, pop the tray into the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Once the chocolate has hardened, take the tray out of the freezer. Lift the bark out by using the excess parchment paper. Use a large chef's knife to cut the bark into desired slices.
The bark is ready to enjoy! It's best enjoyed cold so that the chocolate doesn't melt all over your fingers.
Tips and Tricks
- Quality of dates - Medjool dates are typically larger, sweeter, plump, and soft compared to deglets that are also readily available in store. If the dates are older, they'll also be a bit drier and harder. It's ideal to use fresher dates.
- Softening the dates - A great hack for softening the dates is to leave them in warm water for 10 minutes. You can also wrap them in a damp paper towel and warm it up for 10 seconds in a microwave.
Keep the bark in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days in a sealed container. After that, the apples will have browned and shriveled.
It's best to keep the bark in the freezer for up to 3 months in a sealed container. The dates will be pretty hard, so it wouldn't hurt to leave them at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.
- Caramel Apple Variations - There are a million and 10 variations to a caramel apple, which makes this recipe super fun! You can top it with just about anything you can think - chopped nuts, crushed graham crackers, marshmallows, sprinkles, M&Ms, cereal, etc. Use your favorite chocolate as a glue for the toppings.
- Peanut free - For peanut allergies, use almond butter or chopped pistachios.
- Vegan - A lot of dark chocolate is already vegan, but vegan dark and white chocolate can be easily found. The white chocolate can also be omitted or substituted with coconut yogurt.
The medjool dates are sweet and have a natural deep caramel flavor that make them the perfect base for anything!
More No-Bake Desserts to try
Caramel Apple Date Bark
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Split the pitted medjool dates apart and place them on the sheet so that they're touching. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dates. Smash the dates together with the bottom of a sturdy cup.
- Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate separately. Add half a tablespoon of coconut oil to each type of chocolate and mix it together well. Spoon the dark chocolate over the smashed dates. Spread the chocolate to coat the surface of the dates.
- While the dark chocolate is still melty, top it with the apples, shredded coconuts, and peanuts. Drizzle it with white chocolate. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Pop the sheet tray in the freezer for 15 minutes minimum. Once the chocolate has hardened, lift the parchment paper out of the sheet tray and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Cut the date bark into desired size pieces. Enjoy while cold!