Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lay a piece of parchment paper onto the bottom of an 8×8-inch pan*. Set aside.
Place all ingredients for the crust into a medium mixing bowl and mix until combined. Form the dough into a ball and place into your greased baking pan.
Use your hands or a spatula to evenly spread the dough across the bottom of the pan.
Bake at 350ºF for 10-15 minutes or until the crust has slightly browned.
While crust is baking place dates and vanilla into a high powered food processor. Blend until smooth. Add in one tablespoon of water at a time until date mixture turns into a paste and is easily spreadable.
Add 1/4 cup of pecans into the date mixture and pulse in your food processor to break up the pecans.
Once the crust is done cooking remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Do not skip this step.
Next, place date filling over your cooled crust and carefully spread out with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the filling.
Place bars in the oven at 350ºF and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool completely before cutting into small bars.