Make Your Own MamaBars

November 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Alison Spath in Short or Sweet

When I made Averie’s RAWking chocolate donut holes last week, I got to thinking that these were basically homemade Larabars. They were really good – and they were chocolate! I don’t know about you, but the chocolate Larabars leave much to be desired. I think I can do a little better. Wait, I DID do a little better! (Thank you Averie.)

Are you smelling what I’m smelling?

I’m gonna make me some MamaBars.

The only thing is, I’m kind of curious to know how many calories might be in a MamaBar versus a Larabar. I was in the mood for a little project tonight so I got to work.

I dug out my trusty food scale, a calculator, measuring cups and spoons and got to down to work on everyone’s favorite math problem: calorie math.

On the MamaBar ingredient list?

Raw cashews, dates, agave nectar, ground flax seed, coconut oil and cocoa powder.

Dates, dissected.

Dissected Dates

Into the food processor, a little peer down the food chute!

Down the Chute

MamaBar dough ball ready, it’s time to zero out the scale. Put your empty bowl on the scale and press that little “0” button. Oh 5th grade science class, you’re finally coming in handy.

Zero the Scale

I now know how much my entire mass of MamaBar dough weighs.

17 ounces

1 lb 1 oz = 17 ounces. Check. So how many calories in that MamaBar mass?

A special thanks to the food labels and Calorie Count for everything without a label (hello dates from produce and cashews from bulk), I got the numbers I needed to complete this part of my equation.

Ingredient Calories
1 Tbsp coconut oil 120
1/4 c ground flax seed 120
6 oz raw cashews (about 1 cup) 978
5 oz medjool dates (8 pitted dates) 400
1/4 c agave nectar 240
2 Tbsp cocoa powder 30
Total: 1888

17 oz of MamaBar dough = 1888 calories.

Now to divide these puppies up into individual servings. I tore off a hunk that looked Larabar sized and weighed it. 2 oz looks about right, wouldn’t you say? Yeah, I think so too.

2 oz Ball

Shaped into 2 oz bars. (Turns out a Larabar is 1.8 oz. Go me!)


OK, so they aren’t the most attractive looking bars on the block.  Now I know why the Larabar wrappers aren’t transparent.

First layer, five bars. Second layer, three and a half bars.

Math check! 8.5 bars x 2 oz = 17 oz. Move to the head of the class!

Second Layer

And here they go, into the fridge.

In the Fridge

So… 1888 calories, 8.5 servings. 1888 / 8.5 = 222 calories per serving. Pretty dang close to your average Larabar! But even better than that, these Chocolate MamaBars are way better than a chocolate Larabar in my (far from) humble opinion.

Dear Larabar, I still love you.  There will always be a place for you in my cupboard.

I like that these have coconut oil in them. Brendan Brazier sings the praises of coconut oil in Thrive, which is the first place I read about coconut oil and why it’s so good for us.

Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides. According to B-squared, (totally stole that from No Meat Athlete) the digestion of MCT’s is quick and easy. So instead of being stored in the cells like fat that doesn’t contain MCT’s, it’s converted by the liver into energy almost immediately. This is why coconut oil is an ideal energy source for athletes and is perfect to eat before or during a work out.

Or in my case, as a snack tomorrow when I need every ounce of energy to put Maxine’s shoes on over and over again.

Shew – my brain hurts. Calorie math takes a lot out of you. Class dismissed! And just in time dude, this lady was getting a little rambly…

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19 Responses

  • Bernadette says:

    Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. I don’t really care for ‘bars’ in general because they tend to be too sweet and I can never finish the whole thing, but you make them look so good I’m tempted to try these- maybe half the recipe and make them ‘snack size’ to give em a whirl…hmmm you may be on to something!

    Have a great evening!!

    • Alison says:

      YES Berni that’s a great idea! Make these into snack size bites, 111 calories a pop. Perfecto!

      If you make them yourself you can totally control how sweet they are too!

  • Justine says:

    Hey, seriously thanks for that tutorial. I like to make homemade ones as well and the ingredients are about the same. I always wondered the cals but was to lazy to do the math. Ends up I didn’t have to because I have you. hehe Thanks!


  • wow, mama. you are so talented!

  • Cindy says:

    I never did know how to do the math on all that stuff. Now my brain hurts!

    and I guess we are surfing the same “bar” channel. I am playing with cranberries this month! Recipe #2 is in the light bulb box as we speak!

    I’m smelling Holiday Cindybars!

    Great minds, NO!

    I absolutely adore coconut oil and don’t even care about the cals. Don’t eat enough to be a prob…but I put enough on my face and arms and legs to create a small shortage.

    (Mamabars was too cute)

    How about a good Smore’s bar! oh lordy that sounds good!

  • Erin says:

    Okay, see, if math involved FOOD when I was in elementary school, I totally would have gotten it. And not in that fake pizza pie chart graph way. No, there needed to be a real pizza involved.

    Getting coconut oil ASAP. Check! I think MamaBars are the next LaraBar!

  • Lizzy says:

    ok, you so should come do my homework for me! These look awesome Alison! i don’t know if i would have had as much patience as you did with figuring out the calories of each individual serving! Kudos to you my dear!

  • These sound really good. And I have a feeling they could be made into really funny shapes… 😉 Hey, I have two boys that’s why my mind works that way…

  • Tay says:

    Them mamabars look awesome!! You should market them :-)

  • Mama Pea says:

    Can you smell what the Mama is cookin’? That’s my “Rock” imitation. You can’t tell because it’s the internet…and well, because my imitation sucks.

  • Gotcha on the LaraBar action. I posted on it once about how to make your own

    1/2 c dates or dried fruit to 1/3 c nuts.

    It’s really easy. I can’t believe anyone buys bars. I have never in my life bought a larabar. That’s my confession. I just make them. I have been gifted them but never bought one. Or a nectar. Or a Pure. Yes, eaten but not bought b/c I just make em, so much easier and you’re in control of the ingredients.

    Enjoy your newfound bar-making hobby!

  • Jane/you-know-who says:

    30+ years later and you still crack me up!

  • Erica says:

    How fun! They look delicious. I agree that the chocolate lara is just kind of Ok (versus some of the other flavors that are amazing). Your bars look like they turned out perfect!

  • brandi says:

    those look good! I should try making my own sometime, but I guess I need to buy a food processor for that :)

  • Oooooh these look really good! I’ve been thinking about making homemade granola bars (yeah, how far behind am I?!) and these are kicking me into gear. I would love to try these out but alack I have no food processor or anything of that nature. Bah.
    And yes, mama and Angharad say eat your leeks (they’re the national food of Wales, where my name is from!) and get a kitten.

  • Holly says:

    ahhhh i need some mamabars in my life! your math is flawless, your writing humorous and those bars delicious. love youuuuuuu

  • LOVE that you made your own bars. Girl, you’re RAWkin’! Making your own cereal, your own bars. You’re like a mini mom factory. Yay, you!! I love reading about all your creativity. YUM!!! 😀

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