Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Liberally spray 12 (1/8 cup) muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray (if muffin cups are not non-stick, line sprayed bottoms with rounds of wax paper and then spray the paper).
In a 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring water and dates just to a boil; remove from heat and let dates soak for 5 minutes. Transfer date/water mixture to a food processor and add cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate pieces; pulsing just once to combine. Let cool 2 minutes and then add brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, and a pinch of salt; puree until smooth. Add the flour and pulse just until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly. Bake in middle of oven, approximately 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven.
Let baked cupcakes cool in the muffin pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack (remove wax paper, if using) and let cool completely, right side up.
Just before serving, sprinkle tops lightly with powdered sugar.
Cupcakes can be made and cooled (but not dusted with sugar), 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Serve with Creme Fraiche on the side.
Makes 12 mini cupcakes or 4 servings.
Each serving ( mini cupcakes) contains about 177 calories and 4 grams fat.
* May substitute Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa.
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Creme Fraiche Recipe: https://whatscookingamerica.net/lindasandberg/desserts/minichocolatecupcakes.htm