1 cup raw walnuts
1 vanilla bean (see note)
¾ cup raw pecans
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ¾ cups (packed) pitted medjool dates (see note)
¼ cup dried organic pitted cherries
1 tbsp raw cocoa powder (or regular cocoa)
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
1. In a food processor, process walnuts and pecans.
2. Pulse through until fine and crumbly, then add dates and cherries and pulse through again to partially combine (mixture should be crumbly, but not yet coming together).
3. Add cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract, and pulse through.
4. With a sharp tip knife, slice the vanilla bean down the outer side to open up the bean.
5. Using a blunt knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and add them to the processor.
6. Process again, along with the almond extract if using (almond extract enhances cherry flavor).
7. Process until the mixture starts to come together but do not over-mix so that the nuts release their oils (see note).
8. Remove the mixture and press into a brownie pan (8” x 8”) lined with parchment paper.
9. Use a small piece of the parchment to help press and flatten the mixture evenly into the pan,
10. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, and then cut into squares.
11. You can also freeze the squares after cutting, and enjoy them out of the freezer!
- You can substitute 1 – 1 ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds.
- If your dates are on the dry side, you can add 1-2 tbsp of water to the mixture to help assist the pureeing and the mixture easily coming together. Or, you can presoak (then drain) the dates to soften before pureeing. Also, if you use presoaked nuts, the mixture will puree easier (though presoaking is not a must).
- If you process the mixture too long, the heat generated by the food processor will bring the oils out of the nuts. If this happens, the brownies won’t be ruined necessarily, but they will have an oily appearance and be oily to the touch. So, process minimally to begin, rather than over processing the nuts at the outset.
- If you don’t have the pitted cherries, you can substitute another dried fruit or simply add another 3 or 4 dates to the mixture.
These pecan pie tarts are uncooked and look lovely with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream! Dairy-free of course ;)