Healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark w/ Pretzels

Make the best healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark with Pretzels & a naturally sweetened almond butter caramel sauce with maple syrup. This quick, irresistible bark is a deconstructed caramel apple and is ready in minutes!

How to make the best healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark with Pretzels & an almond butter caramel sauce w/ maple syrup

If you’re craving caramel apples but don’t love the time it takes to make them, then you will love my healthy caramel apple chocolate date bark with pretzels!

It only takes a few minutes to make with clean, natural ingredients, including dates, almond butter, coconut oil, apples, pretzels, and your choice of chocolate chips. It’s naturally sweetened without refined sugar and perfectly satisfies your craving for something sweet, salty and chocolaty. My caramel apple bark recipe is an easy dessert for fall gatherings. It’s also a great way to enjoy the taste of a caramel apple without caramel squares containing high fructose corn syrup.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love My Healthier Apple Caramel Bark with Dates Recipe

  • It is super quick and easy to make.
  • The flavor-rich ingredients make it taste amazing!
  • It’s a healthier alternative to a candy bar.
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Green Apples: Substitute with a Granny Smith apple or any other crisp and tart apple variety for the diced apples.

Pretzels (gluten-free): Use gluten-free pretzels if you have a gluten intolerance or substitute with air-popped popcorn for a different crunch.

Medjool Dates (pitted): You can replace Medjool dates with other dried fruits like apricots, figs, or raisins for a different flavor profile.

Chocolate Chips: Opt for dairy-free or vegan chocolate chips if you have dietary restrictions. You can also chop up a dark chocolate bar into small pieces if you prefer.

Almond Butter: Replace almond butter with peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies or prefer a different nut/seed butter flavor.

Maple Syrup: Substitute with honey, agave nectar, or date syrup for a different natural sweetener.

Coconut Oil: Use melted butter or ghee as a substitute for coconut oil.

Vanilla Extract: You can use almond extract, caramel extract, or omit it if necessary.

Salt: Any type of salt (sea salt, kosher salt, etc.) will work.

How to Make My Apple Caramel Date Bark Recipe

Step 1: Make the Almond Butter Caramel Sauce

In a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract (if using), and a dash of salt. Stir with a fork until well combined. It will have a similar texture to melted caramel.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 2: Prepare the Ingredients

Core the green apple and dice it into small chunks.

Chop about six pretzels into small pieces.

Juiced and zested orange on a kitchen counter.

Step 3: Melt the Chocolate

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth and melted.

If using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips until smooth and creamy. Stir frequently to avoid burning the chocolate.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 4: Prepare the Date Base

Fold a piece of parchment in half and then open.

Pit the Medjool dates if needed. Slice them in half, but not all the way through. Butterfly them and arrange them on your sheet of parchment paper.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 5: Assemble the Layers

Drizzle the caramel sauce over the dates in an even layer.

Spread a layer of whole pretzels and press them into the caramel.

Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the pretzels. Hold back 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate to drizzle later.

Spread the chocolate layer with a spatula, allowing it to fill in all the crevices.

Sprinkle the chopped apple bits over the chocolate and gently press them down.

Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the apples.

Then sprinkle chopped pretzels over the top of the chocolate. Gently press the pretzels down so they all make contact with melted chocolate.

.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.
Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 6: Chill and Set

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

Once the bark has fully set, remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator or freezer.

Using your hands or a knife, break the bark into bite-sized pieces or irregular shapes. Serve and Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark Recipe Notes

Ingredient Variations: Feel free to experiment with different types of fresh apples based on your preference. Some people enjoy the tartness of granny smiths, while others may prefer sweeter varieties like honeycrisp or fuji.

Pretzel Options: If you’re following a gluten-free diet, be sure to use gluten-free pretzels for the pretzel layer to keep the recipe suitable for your dietary needs.

Date Selection: When using dried fruits like Medjool dates, ensure they are soft and moist for the best texture. If your dates are dry, you can soak them in warm water for a few minutes to soften them before blending.

Chocolate Choices: Choose chocolate chips that align with your dietary requirements, such as dairy-free or vegan chocolate chips if you’re vegan. You can also use white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate chips. You can add multiple layers of chocolate if you like.

Nut Butter Variations: Customize the nut or seed butter in the caramel sauce according to your taste or dietary restrictions. Peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter are all excellent alternatives.

Sweetener Substitutions: Replace maple syrup with honey, agave nectar, or date syrup if you prefer or have dietary restrictions.

Salt Adjustments: Adjust the salt to your taste. You can start with a small pinch and add more if needed, as salt enhances the overall flavor balance of this salty treat.

Caramel Sauce Consistency: Be mindful of the consistency of your caramel sauce. If it’s too thick, you can add a bit more melted coconut oil or warm water to thin it out. Conversely, if it’s too thin, add more almond butter to thicken it.

Mixing and Spreading: When combining the ingredients, make sure the caramel sauce evenly coats the apples, pretzels, and dates. This ensures every bite has a perfect balance of flavors.

Cooling and Setting: Allow the bark to cool and set completely before breaking it into pieces. This can take about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the process by placing it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Refrigeration: Store the bark in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator. The cool temperature will help maintain its texture and prevent the chocolate from melting. It’s especially important if your kitchen is warm.

Separate Layers: If you’re stacking multiple layers of bark in a container, place parchment paper or wax paper between the layers to prevent sticking. This will also help maintain the appearance of the bark.

Avoid Moisture: Keep the bark away from moisture, as it can make it soggy and affect its texture, particularly of the crushed pretzels. Ensure the container is sealed tightly to prevent condensation from forming inside.

Consume Promptly: While the bark can last in the refrigerator for a few days, it’s best enjoyed within the first couple of days for the freshest taste and texture.

Freezing (Optional): If you want to extend the shelf life further, you can freeze the bark. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. Properly stored, it can last for several weeks in the freezer. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Room Temperature: If you plan to serve the bark at room temperature for an event or gathering, place it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. However, this is not the ideal long-term storage option, as the chocolate may become soft in warm conditions.

Remember that the quality of the bark may slightly degrade over time, with the pretzels potentially becoming less crispy and the chocolate possibly developing a white “bloom” due to temperature fluctuations. However, it should still be safe to eat within a reasonable time frame, provided it has been stored properly.

Can I use other fruits besides green apples?

Yes, you can use the type of apples you love most. You can also experiment with other fruits like pears or berries.

What can I use as a substitute for gluten-free pretzels?

If you need a gluten-free option, you can use gluten-free pretzels. Alternatively, air-popped popcorn can be a good substitute for a different texture and crunch.

Can I use dried fruits other than Medjool dates?

Absolutely! You can substitute Medjool dates with dried apricots, figs, raisins, or other dried fruits of your choice. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Can I use a different nut or seed butter for the caramel sauce?

Yes, you can substitute almond butter with peanut butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or any other nut/seed butter you prefer or have on hand.

How can I adjust the sweetness of the caramel sauce?

You can adjust the sweetness by varying the amount of maple syrup or using alternative sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, or date syrup. Taste as you go and add more sweetener if needed.

Is there a dairy-free option for the chocolate chips?

Yes, you can use dairy-free or vegan chocolate chips to make the recipe dairy-free. Many brands offer dairy-free chocolate chips made from ingredients like coconut or almond milk you can use for the chocolate base.

How long does the bark need to set in the refrigerator or freezer?

It typically takes 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10-15 minutes in the freezer for the bark to set. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s firm to the touch.

Can I store the bark at room temperature?

It’s best to store the bark in the refrigerator to maintain its texture and prevent the chocolate from melting. Room temperature storage may cause the chocolate to soften in warm conditions.

How long does the bark stay fresh?

The bark is best enjoyed within the first couple of days for the freshest taste and texture. If properly stored, it can last in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for several weeks, which is much longer than a traditional caramel apple.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party or event?

Yes, you can prepare the bark ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until needed. Just make sure to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before serving if it has been frozen.

How to make the best healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark with Pretzels & an almond butter caramel sauce w/ maple syrup

Healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark with Pretzels

Dairy-Free diet-friendly recipe
Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
Vegan diet-friendly recipe
Make the best healthy Caramel Apple Chocolate Date Bark with Pretzels & a naturally sweetened almond butter caramel sauce with maple syrup. This quick, irresistible bark is a delicious deconstructed caramel apple and is ready in minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 green apple
  • 2 cups pretzels (gluten-free)
  • 12 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Almond Butter Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt

Instructions
 

  • In a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract (if using), and a dash of salt. Stir with a fork until well combined. It will have a similar texture to melted caramel.
  • Core the green apple and dice it into small chunks.
    Chop about six pretzels into small pieces.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth and melted.
    If using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips until smooth and creamy. Stir frequently to avoid burning the chocolate.
  • Fold a piece of parchment in half and then open. 
    Pit the Medjool dates if needed. Slice them in half, but not all the way through. Butterfly them and arrange them on your sheet of parchment paper.
  • Drizzle the caramel sauce over the dates in an even layer.
    Spread a layer of whole pretzels and press them into the caramel. 
    Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the pretzels. Hold back 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate to drizzle later.
    Spread the chocolate layer with a spatula, allowing it to fill in all the crevices.
    Sprinkle the chopped apple bits over the chocolate and gently press them down.
    Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the apples.
    Then sprinkle chopped pretzels over the top of the chocolate. Gently press the pretzels down so they all make contact with melted chocolate.
  • Step 6: Chill and Set
    Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
    Once the bark has fully set, remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator or freezer.
    Using your hands or a knife, break the bark into bite-sized pieces or irregular shapes. Serve and Enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 166mgPotassium: 284mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 44IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 2mg
Keyword apples, candy bar, caramel apple, chocolate, date bark, gluten free, maple syrup, pretzels, salted caramel
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating