Date-sweetened desserts are easier on your blood glucose than refined sugar, since they are a whole food and contain the fiber. However, they also provide a delicious texture and caramel flavor that makes these little brownie desserts truly rich and induldgent along with their health benefits!
Start by blending up the dates in a food processor and reserving some of the dates for the caramel topping. Finish making the batter in your food processor and use a cookie scoop to portion the batter into a mini muffin pan. This is helpful to get these dense and fudgy brownies fully cooked, where as in a big pan the middle would be underbaked and the edges would be burned. A regular-sized muffin pan would probably work as well, but you’d get only half as many.
Top each mini muffin brownie with a dollop of the reserved date caramal and finish with a little pecan jewel. Bake just enough and let them fully cool as that’s how they firm up.
They are a delightful treat for Valentines Day, to give away or enjoy yourself. Top with some chocolate chips if you’d like extra melty sweetness.
Someone once told me dates are too sweet for them. I feel that way about sugar cubes–they are too sweet! But no one really eats sugar cubes on their own and dates are similarly perfect for sweetening things. For more date-sweetened treats, check out these recipes below. And if you make any of these, please post about it on social media and tag me, and come back to leave a star rating on this recipe! It helps my blog be seen by more people which validates my work!
Decadent brownies made primarily of dates and nuts--no added sugar or oil or flour! If you only have a small food processor, make a half recipe!
- 20 Medjool dates, pit taken out (about 2 cups of soft dates)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 scant cup almond butter*
- 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp more salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 TBSP ground flax seed
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar) (do not skip, reacts with baking soda to make them rise)
- 20 pecan halves
- dairy-free chocolate chips, optional
- coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with oil or use a silicone mini muffin pan (if using silicone, beware the bottoms may burn more easily in the thin pan. Place on a cookie sheet while baking to prevent burning). If you have two mini muffin pans, double stack them to create an extra layer and prevent burning.
In a food processor, add the dates, water, vanilla and salt. Process well until as smooth as possible. Take out a large spoonful, about 1/3 cup, and set aside in a small bowl. You'll use this to top each brownie with a little date caramel.
Add the almond butter (or other nut butter) and blend until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients. Batter will be thick and you may need to stir it by hand a bit since it's a lot for a food processor to handle. If you need to add a couple tablespoons of water that's ok.
Use a cookie scoop to portion out the batter evenly into the mini muffin pan. Press the batter down with your fingers to form a small indentation. Spoon a little bit of the reserved date caramel onto each brownie. Press a pecan half in. Add a couple chocolate chips on top if desired. Sprinkle with salt or coarse salt.
Bake for 13-14 minutes, but the brownies will feel soft to the touch. They will firm up while they cool. Baking any longer makes them burn on the bottom. You want a gooey and fudgy brownie, not an overbaked and dry one.
Let cool a full 30 minutes before using a knife to lift them out of the pan and enjoy.
*Use any nut butter, understanding it will affect the flavor. Cashew butter, peanut butter, etc.
Could use any other type of date, such as deglet noor, but you may need to soak them first. Soft and gooey Medjool dates are preferred.
Do not attempt to bake these in a large pan like regular brownies, they are too thick and gooey and will overcook on the edges and not cook in the middle. Mini muffin pan is key, although a regular muffin pan would probably work, too.