Monday, April 08, 2013

Doggie Biscuits

We've had a dog sharing our lives for most of the time that Sweetie and I have been married, mostly black labs. If you know anything about labs, you know that they love to chew, are very affectionate and are easy to spoil because they are so lovable and appreciative of attention. Although I manufactured my own training treats back when I was first dog trained (and it really is the human who gets trained, not the dog...well later the dog), for some reason I've never made dog biscuits.

We have a really cute metal biscuit tin shaped like a dog bone with a colorful graphic on the front of a dog in his doghouse. Usually I fill it up with dog bones from the store. A couple of days ago I noticed that it was empty and my baking bug took hold. After a while on the Internet looking at various recipes, I put together my own recipe with bits and pieces from a number of source ideas. I really haven't been baking much at all since January but I knew I could make dog treats. For ease of preparation, I decided to forgo cutting them out to look like bones and just cut them into rectangles. They aren't as cute that way, but Pi doesn't seem to mind. Besides, they are in a cute container!

I started with the idea of grains soaked in boiling water. I do that for bread making and like the idea. Cornmeal and rolled oats sounded good, plus I had a packet of chicken soup flavor granules that didn't go into a salad where I used the Ramen noodles, so I added that to the corneal/oats mush for added flavor. Dry milk powder added to the flour mixture (half whole wheat) sounded like a good idea, too. Peanut butter was always going to be an ingredient because Pi loves peanut butter. There is an egg for his coat shine, a touch of salt and a touch of honey for flavor.

I baked the dough at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, then took the baking sheet out of the oven and divided up the dough so that I could spread out the treats. I used the end of a metal spatula to cut the rest of the way through the dough along the scored lines, then spread each treat out away from it's neighbor. That meant using another baking sheet. They both went back into the oven for another 10 minutes, but I could have baked them a bit longer and it would have been OK I think. After they cooled on the pans 5 minutes, they went onto a cooling rack so that they would dry out a bit more and crisp up.

Pi loved them! Lots of tail waggin' going on here.  He only gets a couple a day because even with all of the good ingredients, they are meant to be treats and we don't want a heavy dog...another lab trait if one isn't careful.

Hope you try these if you have a dog. Your doggie will be glad you did and you will know exactly what is in those treats.

Doggie Cookies
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon chicken or beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups flour (half regular, half whole wheat is what I used, but all of one or the other is fine)
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey

In a large bowl mix the boiling water, cornmeal, chicken or beef bouillon granules and oats. Let sit 15 minutes.

While above mixture is sitting, put the flour, dry milk powder and salt into a stand mixer or large bowl and mix to combine.

Add the soaked cornmeal/oat mixture to the flour mixture, along with the egg. Mix to combine. Add the peanut butter and honey and mix to combine. If necessary, add additional water or flour to make a firm but sticky dough.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Roll out dough and cut with a bone shaped cutter and place on prepared cookies sheet, or make balls of dough and place them on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and flatten with a glass as you would sugar cookies, or do as I did and use dampened hands to push the dough into a large rectangle on the parchment or Silpat, about 1/2 inch thick and as evenly flat as possible, then score dough with a long knife into squares or rectangles.

Bake cookies for about 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown. If cookies are small, them might be done sooner, so check smaller ones sooner.

If you scored a rectangle of cookie dough, remove from the oven after 20 minutes and separate treats, spacing them at least 1/4 inch apart on the pan. You may need another pan. Return to oven and bake another 10 -15 minutes until golden brown.

Let pan(s) sit for 5 minutes on the counter, then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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