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I Tried the Viral Date Bark and I’m In Love

February 3, 2024
Courtesy of Eating Bird Food

As someone who has a sweet tooth — but who also cares very much about what they eat — I’m always on the lookout for healthy dessert recipes. Fortunately, TikTok is a treasure trove. The latest viral recipe I tried is date bark: a delightful no-bake treat that only requires five ingredients. After I stumbled upon this recipe — an original creation by health coach and recipe developer Lina Jabbari, I immediately ran to the store to buy the ingredients. 

Here are my honest thoughts on how the date bark turned out — plus some pro tips for best results.

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How to make date bark

You only need a few simple ingredients to make date bark — these might even be in your pantry already:

I decided to cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch — in part because there are only two people in our household, but also because I like to start with smaller batches when trying new recipes, just in case I don’t love the result. You can double these amounts above, though, to fill the entire baking sheet.

While the original recipe called for peanut butter, I used almond butter because that’s what I happened to have on hand. Since the almonds were raw and I knew roasting them would lend a richer flavor, I popped them into the oven on a baking sheet at 350ºF for 15 minutes. I can’t recommend this highly enough — it was worth the extra step for a more complex taste and crunchier texture.

While you can technically use any kind of chocolate for this recipe, I opted for 70% dark chocolate for the health perks and bolder flavor. Dark chocolate has two to three times more cocoa solids than milk chocolate. These cocoa solids are rich in flavanols, which can help to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Harvard Health recommends choosing 70% dark chocolate or higher to reap the maximum flavonol content, so that’s what I used.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

  1. Start by laying out the dates on a baking sheet lined with parchment. 
  2. Wet the bottom of a large drinking glass; use it to mash the dates down into a flatter layer.
  3. Drizzle your chosen nut butter over the top of the dates. This step is a lot easier with peanut butter or almond butter that has a runnier consistency. In order to make the almond butter easier to spread, I placed the jar in a large bowl and left it under hot running water for five minutes.
  4. You can either leave the nuts whole or chop them — I decided to go the latter route. If you prefer chopped nuts, you can place them in a Ziploc bag and carefully smash them with a rolling pin, meat mallet, or other tool.
  5. Chop and melt the chocolate. Either place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 45 seconds, stirring halfway through, or put it in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the nuts, then finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. (Don’t skip the salt, it helps offset the sweetness of the dates and chocolate.)
  7. Slide the baking sheet into the freezer and leave it for at least one hour. After the chocolate has hardened and the ingredients have set together, break the bark into smaller pieces.

My honest review of the viral date bark

My first bite of date bark was a rollercoaster ride for my taste buds. It’s simultaneously sweet, salty, chewy, and crunchy. All of the contrasting flavors and textures make for an insanely satisfying treat. If a Snickers bar is your sweet treat of choice, but you’re looking for a healthier alternative, date bark certainly fits the bill. The mashed dates take on a caramel-like texture after freezing, serving as the perfect sticky sweet base.

Our batch of date bark only lasted about three days in my two-person household. Even my husband, who doesn’t typically like dates, happily devoured some.

Best of all, the whole process of making date bark (aside from freezing it) only took about 15 minutes max. I’d definitely make this again — particularly because it’s just as easy to make as it is delicious.

Pro tips

If you can, use Medjool dates for this recipe. They’re larger, softer in texture, and have a richer and sweeter caramel-like taste than other types of dates. This makes them easier to mash as well as also more flavorful. 

While totally optional, you can add a small amount of coconut oil to the chocolate while it’s melting. This will help to thin out the chocolate so it’s a little easier to drizzle.

Even though the original date bark recipe calls for almonds, you can also use pecans, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts. You can also use a combination of several varieties. Feel free to use cashew butter in place of almond or peanut butter, too.

And don’t be afraid to get creative with other toppings — such as:

  • Coconut flakes
  • Granola or cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Orange zest
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds

Either store your date bark in the fridge or the freezer in an airtight container or bag. It’ll last about three months in the freezer and about two weeks in the fridge (but good luck keeping it around that long).

Read next: I Tried TikTok’s Viral Sushi Bake and It’s Delicious (and Cheaper Than Takeout)

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