06 June 2011

cranberry scone dog treats

Behold: The cutest dog I've ever had!

You know it's true: I love my dog. I've always wanted a dog since I was a little kid. I did all my research on dog breeds and their traits. Mostly I thought they were cute and I liked animals, so I wanted one. But really, I had no idea how quickly I'd become emotionally attached to a dog. My husband and I were pretty exclusively cat people, not because we didn't like dogs, but because we'd grown up with kitties. One day I realized that I was, in fact, a grown-up and I could have a dog if I wanted one. The seed was planted in my mind. Then we went on our honeymoon in Costa Rica, and there were so many sweet dogs and puppies all around -- many, many were strays. It broke my heart. Once we got home, I couldn't wait any more. I lobbied for a puppy, and my husband cut me a deal: get a new job and/or finish my thesis, and I could get one. So I hopped on to Petfinder (a bad idea in general, but a good idea in the end) and surfed the internet for cute puppies, figuring it would take some time to find one I'd want to meet. Too bad: We'd been home from the honeymoon for no more than a month or so, and I wanted to see a puppy. I showed her page to my husband, and we went to meet her, you know, 'just to look'. Well, I'd filled out an application, we met the one pup and her sister, and we loved them both. We left it up to the rescue's discretion who got which pup, and we ended up with our darling Tess. I'm still amazed how well we were paired up, because I'm pretty sure she's the dog I wanted my entire life. (For the record, I held up my end of the bargain and finished up my thesis shortly afterward.)

So there. I bake cookies for my dog. She loves it. It's the least I can do, really. I'd like to think it is probably cheaper in the end, which is a bonus. And now I have a use for all my super awesome cookie cutters that I never got around to using otherwise. But I also like knowing I'm giving her something good. Plus she'll always eat homemade treats, even if they don't turn out perfectly -- she is nowhere near picky when it comes to edible items and somehow I find that endearing.

As it turns out, I now own two dog biscuit cookbooks. I was out using a coupon from the Blue Sky Guide (okay, the Chinook Book, but I really liked the name last year better!) and I wanted to get Tess the best dog toy ever. The impulse buy by the register?  The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook. I'm a sucker.

The cookbook is serious about being as cute as it can be. I squirmed a bit at first about using different flour types (apparently gluten flours sometimes make dogs itchy!), but hey, that's more unbleached flour for me! There's some really great, creative ideas (many of which don't involve pureed liver! Hooray!) and lots of useful information in sidebars throughout the book. It also doesn't hurt that the book itself is very attractive, inside and out.  My only gripe is that the index is not by ingredient. This is a problem because all the recipes have cute names, and unless you know which cute recipe name it is, you'll never find it.  I was going to make the parmesan pretzels, but I was feeling under the weather and more effort in assembly didn't sound as fun at the moment. But doggie scones?? Adorable! And the results? Tess grabbed it, ran away a few paces (this is a good indication that she likes it a lot -- it needs to be far enough away that I can't take it from her or otherwise interrupt her fun), and gobbled it up. Then she trotted back to where I gave it to her and looked for any missed crumbs she could vacuum up. A+!

Cranberry Scones (dog treats)
with a few modifications in method and ingredients
1 c. oat flour (= 1 c. oats buzzed around in the Magic Bullet, my favorite underrated kitchen appliance)
1 c. brown rice flour
2 t. baking powder
1 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. water
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix flours and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Mix PB, oil, water, egg, and vanilla in the Magic Bullet (or small blender, or small workbowl of food processor).
4. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.
5. Stir in the cranberries.
6. Pinch a ping-pong ball sized blob of dough into a triangle and set it on the baking sheet. Continue until all the scones are formed, (made 45-50 of them). They can all sit on the same sheet -- they don't spread at all. You can adjust the size of the scones for your dog, just be careful with the bake time.
7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and press into the tops of the scones lightly.
8. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the scone comes out cleanly.
9. Turn off the oven and leave the cookies inside for 10 minutes to dry them out some more. Be sure to check the bottoms aren't burning too much; I found the tops didn't really brown very much.
10. Cool the cookies completely, then place in an airtight container with name and date. Just to be safe, even if you dried them out well, I'd keep them in the fridge.
11. Give to dog, watch them smile and wag.

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