· 2 ½ cups loosely packed pitted dates
· 1 ½ cups walnuts
· ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
· 2 tsp. vanilla extract
· 3/8 tsp. salt
· ¼ cup maple syrup (more to taste)
· 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
1. Combine dates, walnuts, 6 Tbsp cacao powder, 1 ½ tsp. vanilla, 2 tsp. water and salt in a food processor. Process until completely smooth.
2. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish, or line dish with parchment or waxed paper. Transfer dough to dish. Press dough very firmly into dish with hands until dough is evenly distributed.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup cacao powder, remaining ½ tsp. vanilla, maple syrup and oil. Stir until mixture forms a paste (this is the frosting). Spread paste evenly over dough in baking dish.
4. Refrigerate brownies at least 2 hours to set, then cut into squares. Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.