Mamabars (aka DIY Larabar Recipe)

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for “Mamabars”.

This post does include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. Your price does not change, but your purchase indirectly helps support this site. So thanks!

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

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.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

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.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

So, cover the mixture with a piece of plastic wrap and roll it flat with a rolling pin.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

You’ll find that the center compacts really well, but the edges get thin and crumbly.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

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.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

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.

Make your own Larabar Cherry Pie bars quickly and easily with this recipe for "Mamabars".

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.

This post does include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. Your price does not change, but your purchase indirectly helps support this site. So thanks!

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Do you have any ideas on what the dayes could be replaced with? I have a date allergy and it is nigh unto impossible to find granola or protein bars without either dates or oodles of sugar!

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Jessica. Have you experimented with any other flavors yet? I love Larabars, but the cost makes me ration them! May have to play around with my food processor and see what I can come up with. My favorites are the cashew cookie one and the cappuccino.

    • I’ve made two that are very different. The two I linked above. My daughter has nut allergies, so there aren’t too many different ones I can get based on cross-contamination issues.

  3. Sara K. says:

    Where do you find dates at? I think I have seen them one time in the produce section of my store. It is possible that I have just overlooked them since I have never really used dates in cooking before. Can you find them anywhere else (like near the raisins)?

    • My husband bought a ginormous tub at Costco. I’ve seen them near the bulk food aisle at Sprouts. I think they would be near the raisins in a regular store.

      • Kim in AZ says:

        Where did you find the dates at costco (what department)? I tried looking yesterday so we could try this recipe but couldn’t track any down. Thanks!

        • Melinda P says:

          Dried figs are in the produce department at Costco

        • Every Costco seems to have a different layout and it changes often. Sometimes the dried fruit is near produce but other times it’s near the crackers and snacks. I haven’t figured out the method to their madness.

  4. Do you think you could sub raw or toasted sunflower seeds for the almonds, my kids can’t have any tree nuts.

  5. I am trying dried figs to replace dates? They are still inthe cupboard so i can’t tell you how they taste but the consistency is similar? Dried dates are very sweet so maybe some honey is needed????

  6. I really need to try making my own granola bars. My husband brings one to work every day and at $1+/bar it really adds up fast!

  7. Just wondered if you broke the nutrition value down on any of your new low sugar ideas? The cliff bars I have at the moment are 23 gms of sugar! I understand fruit is high, but wondering still how healthy that can be?

    • I haven’t run any numbers. My focus has been to reduce the processed stuff and to get “real food”. I think Clif Bars have an enormous amount of added sugar because they are designed for folks who work out and need the carbs.

  8. I think it is easier to put the ingredients in a gallon zip lock bag (or quart) depending on how big your batch is, press with your hands (or you can use a rolling pin if you wish). They form easily into a large rectangle the shape of the bag with no mess. Cut the bag open around the edges and cut the bars into squares. Voila. Easy and no mess.

Share Your Thoughts

*