To be honest, I was shocked at how successful this dog treat recipe was. Dried cranberries were a new flavor for my dog Pacey, and I wasn’t exactly sure if he would like them. He went totally nuts for these! Seriously. I actually had to chastise him to get him to stop jumping up and begging for more! I would say without a doubt that these are his new favorite treats.
The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Your main concern will be using the right ingredients. The coconut flakes and dried cranberries must be UNSWEETENED. You will probably need to head to the natural or health food section of your grocery store to find these, and the labels will be marked “unsweetened.” (You don’t ever want to use “Craisins” or any other sugary ingredients in dog treats.) Likewise, the peanut butter should be natural with no sugar added. And, as always, it’s best to choose good quality oats and honey/molasses.
Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars
Makes about 40 treats (1 1/2-inch squares)
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the oats, coconut, and cranberries in a large bowl.
3. Add the peanut butter and honey (or molasses) to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are well-coated and the mixture is holding together.
4. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper that are the size of your baking sheet. Place one piece of parchment on the countertop, pour the granola bar mixture onto it, and cover the mixture with the second piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll on the granola bar mixture out into an even, rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. The mixture will be very sticky, so rolling it out between the 2 sheets of parchment paper will keep it from sticking to the rolling pin/countertop/your hands/etc.
5. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and discard it. With the sheet of granola mixture still on top of the bottom layer of parchment paper, transfer it to the baking sheet—keeping the parchment paper on the bottom to line the baking sheet.
6. Bake until the granola is firm and light golden brown, about 14 minutes.
7. Allow the sheet of granola to cool completely, then use a sharp slicing knife to cut the rectangular sheet into pieces. (I cut 1 1/2-inch squares, but you could cut traditional rectangular bars, or another desired shape.)
These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.