Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for “Mamabars”.
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As you know, our family took on the challenge of desugarfying ourselves recently. In English that means that we have made an effort to cut out some of the added sugar in our diet. We haven’t rid ourselves of everything. I mean, who are we kidding?! But, where it doesn’t matter, we’re trying to edge it out.
One of those areas is with granola and other snack bars. Previously I had no qualms about buying packaged bars provided they were nut free and safe for my youngest daughter. Label reading has made me rethink some things.
FishPapa’s daily breakfast for years has been a protein bar of some kind, specifically a Clif bar. Someone who doesn’t think he likes sweets that much, he honestly didn’t know there was sugar in them. During our sugar fast, I started buying him Larabars instead of Clif bars. While they aren’t as protein-packed, neither are they chock full of added sugar. Typically their only ingredients are dates, nuts, and other dried fruits. I guess I converted my husband because he says when he eats the other kids of bars now they make him feel light-headed.
Anyway, suffice it to say, we have gained an affinity for Larabar-type snacks. I never thought I would say that. When I first tasted them five years ago, I think they were grody. to the max. Now, I love many of the flavors I’ve tried.
I recently found that Clif is now making a competing bar: the Kit’s Organic Bar. They’ve upped the ante by making their bars organic as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. I found them at Sprouts recently and they were cheaper than Larabars.
That said, neither are what I would call “cheap”. At a buck a bar, it’s still cost prohibitive to buy them regularly for the whole family. During the sugar fast, I started making what the kids call, Mamabars. They are my take on the Cherry Cobbler Larabar, one of my favorite flavors.
One of the things that I learned in this bar-making business is that the mixture doesn’t always behave. Sometimes it crumbles and falls to bits and that’s quite annoying. So, here are some of the tricks I figured out to making the bars hold together a little better.
I use a food processor to grind the dates, almonds, and dried cherries. Then I plunk down the mixture on a sheet pan like this one, lined with parchment or freezer paper. One easy method is to pat the mixture into balls or patties. I’ve done that with the Fruit and Nut Energy Bites and the Cocoa Apricot Cashew Bites. We’ve found that we prefer the texture of the bites.
So, cover the mixture with a piece of plastic wrap and roll it flat with a rolling pin.
You’ll find that the center compacts really well, but the edges get thin and crumbly.
Fold over the edge of the paper so that you’re also folding the edge of the bar mixture back onto itself. You’re thickening the edges by doing so as well as creating a straighter edge.
Continue to do this on the edge until you get the thickness and compactness you like. Then proceed to squaring off all the other edges so that you have a more rectangular shape than a big blob.
Once you’ve got the thickness you like, slice it into squares with a pizza cutter. Place the squares in an airtight container and chill. We’ve found that the texture and flavor of chilled bars far surpasses room temp.
That’s it. It takes but a few minutes and the bars taste great.
Over time I’ve reduced the amount of cherries in the recipe so that I can keep the cost down. These taste really good with 2 cups of dried sweet cherries, but then it is cost prohibitive. I don’t have a price breakdown yet because we bought this same package of dates months ago and it’s still holding strong. Until I dig out the receipt from who knows where, you’ll have to wait.
Summary: like Larabar Cherry Pie bars
- 2 cups deglet noor dates
- 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cherries
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the dates, almonds, and cherries until they are coarse crumbs that will stick together easily.
- Place the mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment.
- Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and roll it out. Fold the edges of the paper over and firm up the edges. Continue to do this, squaring off the edges and thickening them up.
- Cut into squares. Chill in an airtight container until ready to serve.
- For longer storage, freeze the bars until ready to serve.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 24