With mashed banana, peanut butter chips, and a bit of honey, these “pupcakes” are very tasty for canines and humans alike. Even when made with a light or fat free cream cheese, the carob-cream cheese frosting is fairly rich, so these treats should be saved only for very special occasions and given in limited quantities. A big dog is probably okay eating a whole pupcake in one sitting, but for most dogs half, or even less, will be plenty. You can store the remaining pupcakes in the refrigerator for later or be really nice and share with some of your friends—this particular treat makes a very fancy-looking, gourmet gift that any dog would certainly be happy to receive.
I piped the frosting on using a piping bag fitted with a star tip because it makes a beautiful presentation, but you can simply use a spatula to smear a layer of frosting onto the top of each pupcake if you prefer. The “smear” technique uses less frosting per pupcake, and they taste just as good.
Banana and Peanut Butter Chip Pupcakes with Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 15 cupcakes
1 very ripe, medium banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup natural peanut butter chips
Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz low fat or fat free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup carob powder
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Combine the mashed banana, honey, egg, applesauce, and water in a bowl.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir well to combine.
4. Stir in the peanut butter chips until just incorporated.
5. Bake until the tops of the pupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
6. Allow the pupcakes to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
7. Combine the cream cheese, oil, and carob powder in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until the ingredients form a smooth, homogenous, creamy mixture.
8. When the pupcakes are cool, use a piping bag or an offset spatula to top each pupcake with frosting.
9. Server immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerating for later, be sure to allow the frosting to soften at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.
Just like us, individual dogs have distinct taste preferences. As you try out more and more treat recipes, you’ll get a better idea of what your dog likes and doesn’t. Banana is not a flavor popular with all dogs. I’ll be honest—Pacey isn’t a big fan. However, bananas are naturally creamy and sweet, so some dogs absolutely love them. And that creamy texture also lends itself very well to baked goods.
Bananas have nutritional benefits as well. Dogs are able to quickly metabolize the natural sugars, so bananas can offer an energy boost. Bananas also contain potassium, electrolytes, minerals, vitamin B6, and vitamin C and are fiber rich.
When you’re preparing this recipe, do not panic if the cookie dough seems wet when you’re mixing it. When I made this recipe, the dough was very moist, bordering on a batter, but when I portioned the dough (using a 2-tablespoon scoop) the cookies held together well and didn’t even spread out too much in the oven. I did press gently on the tops of the baked cookies as they came out of the oven. This flattened them out a little bit and gave them a neater appearance, but that’s completely optional. Just leave them as-is if you’re okay with a more rustic look.
Makes about 50 cookies
2 cups all purpose or unbleached white flour
2 cups (uncooked) oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2cups natural, unsweetened applesauce
3 very ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the flour, oats, and baking soda in a bowl.
3. Add the applesauce and bananas, and stir to combine.
4. Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. These cookies may spread slightly during baking, so be sure to leave about 1 inch between the drops of dough. (Optional: I like to press down gently on the top of each drop of dough to flatten the cookies out a little bit—this is purely for looks.)
5. Bake until the cookies are light brown and spongy to the touch, about 11 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and allow the cookies to harden for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Definitely store these moist treats in the refrigerator.