Summer Berry Bars

Right now we have an abundance of fresh, local strawberries here in Gettysburg, so for the past several weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying multiple batches of strawberry shortcake. Today I very generously decided to share some of the strawberries leftover from my shortcake-a-palooza with my dog Pacey, and the result was this recipe for berry bar cookies. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can substitute an equal amount of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or use a combination of berries.

The preparation is simple, and the treats can easily be made from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. I cut the baked treats into 1-inch by 1-inch squares to suit my little dog, but you can cut the treats into pieces of any size and/or shape using a paring knife or a small cookie cutter. To keep the finished treats from crumbling too much, it’s best to cut them into pieces immediately after removing them from the oven. Just be sure to use an oven mitt or pot-holder and be extremely careful during this step, because the pan and the treats will be very hot.

Summer Berry Bars

Summer Berry Bars

Makes about 30 (1-inch by 1-inch) bars

 

1 1/2 cups whole ripe strawberries, stems and leaves removed

1/4 cup water

1 egg

2 cups oat flour

1 cup white rice flour

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Place the strawberries and water in a bowl. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash the berries into very small pieces (a.k.a. mush).

3. Stir the egg into the mashed berries.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour and rice flour.

5. Slowly stir the flours into the wet ingredients, and continue stirring until well-combined. (The finished dough will be slightly wet but should hold together well and press easily into the pan.)

6. Press the dough into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper, making sure that the sheet of dough is of an even thickness.

7. Bake until firm to the touch and baked through, 18 to 20 minutes.

8. Remove the pan from the oven, and use a sharp paring knife to cut the bars into pieces.

9. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing them from the pan and serving.

 

These treats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

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

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.

Blondies

Blondies are bar cookies very similar to brownies, but they have a light brown color since they are prepared without any cocoa powder. Blondies are really quick and easy to prepare, so they are the perfect thing to whip up if you ever find yourself in need of treats in a hurry. Traditional people-food blondies are flavored with brown sugar and chocolate chunks, but my trusty taste-testers went crazy over this dog-friendly recipe that features carob chips and a touch of peanut butter.

These blondies are made with oats, so they are fairly crumbly. I’ve found that it’s best to cut them into the smallest pieces that you possibly can for your dog. I got 36 squares out of my 8″ x 8″ baking dish, and those pieces were still kind of big for a small dog like Pacey, so he made a bit of a mess when he was eating them. If you’ve got a tiny dog, you may even want to bake this recipe in a 9″ x 9″ pan so that the blondies are thinner and more manageable. (Just remember to adjust the baking time if you’re using a larger pan.)

 

Blondies

Makes about 36 squares

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups oat flour

1 cup carob chips

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the eggs, honey, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and yogurt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder with the oat flour.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, and stir to combine.

5. Stir in the carob chips until evenly dispersed.

6. Pour the batter into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.

7. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides start pulling away from the pan, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

8. Once cool, use a sharp knife to cut the blondies into individual portions.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.