Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a bread pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Let dates sit in water for at least 30 minutes. Then, place the mixture in a high speed blender and blend on high until pureed smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together applesauce, egg whites, protein powder, cocoa powder, and baking powder (plus chocolate chips if using!). Stir until smooth. Scoop 1/2 the brownie batter into the prepared bread pan and spread evenly. Next, spoon the date-caramel over the first layer of brownie batter and spread with a frosting knife or the back of a spoon so it’s evenly distributed in one layer. Finally, scoop the other half of the brownie batter on top of the caramel layer and spread until smooth.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before lifting the brownies out of the pan with the parchment paper, slicing, and serving.