Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

For a more contented canine

You know you want to make this big ol' pudding happy, right? And, if you had a chance to make his sister wage her tail, too, you'd probably have no issue with that, either.

Well, this past Christmas, I baked a few batches of doggie treats for Clyde, his sister who lives with my seester and her family, and for the new dog in my other sister's house. Sadly, Clyde's sister did not get her treats, making Bonnie's mood not very bonny. 

So, since the old fogeys are taking a trip out to not so very far away from where my sisters live, they're taking Clyde for a visit, affording me the perfect opportunity to make more treats for them to take along as hostess gifts…or, whatever excuse one needs to give cookies to an eleven-year-old Labrador Retriever.

I'll likely make some treats for my seester and her husband, as well, but I don't think they'll resemble these cookies very much at all, other than there will be no sugar added…

But the process for making doggy cookies is fairly simple: you start with a base dough, add the flavors or effects you want, bake until dry and crunchy, and store in a cool, dry place (or, if you so choose, you can freeze them. If you're doing stinky treats, I highly recommend freezing.)

For very crunchy cookies, the best flour to use is brown rice flour, or simple rice flour. Second best, and very good for stinky treats, is oat flour (if you don't want to spend a huge sum of money, buy some quick oats and run them through your blender/processor a couple of minutes, until they're powdery). If you need them to hold together and have just a hint of gluten in the dough, use a small amount of whole wheat flour (1 cup whole wheat to 2 cups rice or oat flour) to bind it.

Any way you look at it, all you want to start with is flour, egg, liquid, a further binder such as fat or sweet potato, and flavors (fish, bouillon, powdered milk, parsley, etc.). You mix it together until it is a cohesive mass (you can form a ball with the dough), pat it flat, cut it into bite-sized treats with a cookie cutter or just a big knife, pierce halfway with a fork, and bake it in a medium-low oven (325-350º F, or 160-180º C) until they're golden-browned, dry, and crunchy as heck (about 25-40 minutes, depending on size and shape). YOu can cool them on the cookie sheet or on a rack, and then store them away so the dog doesn't eat all of them at once.

I made a batch of breath-freshener treats, (Barkin' Bars) first, today, with added finely grated carrot because Bonnie still seems to not hate them, but I had to go ahead and make more, so here's the stinky batch (a double batch, at that) I baked today.

Stinky cookies

2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
6 Tablespoons chicken fat, chilled firm 
1 can sardines packed in oil
1 egg
1/2 cup water plus more if needed

Be sure rack is in center of oven. Preheat oven to 325º F.

In a stand mixer bowl and using a dough hook, combine flour, powdered milk, bouillon. Mix in chicken fat, sardines (oil and all). Mix until the sardines appear as flecks amid crumbs. Add egg, mix completely, then add water, mixing until the dough starts to form a ball.

On a floured surface, pat out the dough into about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Pierce each cookie with a fork, about halfway through it (you can pierce all the way if you want, but it's not really necessary. It just helps the middle firm up as quickly as the edges).

Place on large cookie sheet, bake at least 35 minutes, or as long as 50 minutes, until the cookie is lightly browned on all edges, dry and crispy-crunchy even in the centers. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and store in freezer for the sake of your own nose.

But don't forget to give a few to your favorite canine companion before they're all put away.

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