For the filling:
1/2 pound pecan pieces
7 Medjool dates, pits removed
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
Pecan halves, for garnish
For the chocolate:
1/3 cup cacao butter, chopped
1/3 cup coconut butter
3/4 cup pecan or coconut oil
3 tablespoons cocoa or cacao powder
- To make the filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they give off a nutty aroma and develop a golden brown color – watch closely as nuts can burn easily. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Place cooled nuts, dates, vanilla bean seeds, and salt in a high speed blender or food processor. Process for several minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until a coarse paste forms. Mixture should easily stick together when pressed. If adding chia or hemp hearts, pulse them in at this point.
- Scoop mounds of mixture about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in volume onto a sheet of parchment paper. Roll each mound into a circle then flatten into a disc about 1/2-inch thick with the palm of your hand. Repeat with remaining date/pecan mounds until they are all formed into discs.
- To make the chocolate: In a saucepan over medium high heat, place the cacao butter, coconut butter, and coconut oil. Stir occasionally, until all butters are completely melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until a completely smooth and very runny melted chocolate forms.
- Line up 18 silicone molds (roughly the same size and shape as a peanut butter cup) on a baking sheet.
- Fill each mold halfway full with the chocolate mixture. Press a date/pecan disc into each mold so that it sinks into the chocolate. Divide the rest of the chocolate mixture between the molds, covering each date/pecan disc completely.
- Place in the fridge. After molds have been chilling for 30 minutes, top each with a pecan half. Continue to chill for 2 hours, until the chocolate is completely set.
- Remove cups from molds and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Will keep for several weeks in the fridge and months in the freezer. Makes 18 cups.