Crunchy Beef Biscuits

The dog treats that I typically share on this blog have a soft texture, because I think that more closely mimics the look of “people cookies” (plus, my dog Pacey likes soft treats best). But I realize that sometimes it’s good to switch things up, so this recipe yields super crunchy biscuits that have a texture similar to Milk Bones.

It contains only two ingredients, so this recipe literally couldn’t be any simpler! The most important step is to use high quality ingredients. It’s best if you can make your own beef broth, but a store-bought broth will also work well. If you choose to use store-bought broth, just be sure to choose one that is natural, low fat, and low sodium.

If the dough isn’t coming together easily, you can add more beef broth by the teaspoonful. Take care to add no more than just enough broth to bind the flour together, because adding too much moisture to the dough will affect the texture of the finished treats.

Crunchy Beef Biscuits

Crunchy Beef Biscuits

Makes about 7 dozen (1 1/2-inch) treats

 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2/3 cup beef broth

 

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Stir the flour and beef broth together in a bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

3. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough out into pieces.

4. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet. The pieces can be placed close together, because the dough will not spread during baking.

5. Bake for 28 minutes. Flip the treats over, return to the oven, and continue baking for an additional 28 minutes.

6. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and leave the treats inside the oven to dry out for about 2 hours.

 

These treats should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Gingered Beef Biscotti

Beef is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to dog treat flavors, because dogs are naturally carnivores. I don’t know a single dog that doesn’t love the flavor of beef and digest it easily. (I guess maybe there’s one out there, but I certainly haven’t met him yet.) And making these treats in the shape of Italian biscotti puts a fun little twist on plain ol’ beef biscuits.

If you’ve got the time and inclination, you can make your own beef broth or beef stock for this recipe. If you do, just be sure to leave out any salt, onion, or garlic. However, most grocery stores now carry high-quality, natural beef broths that come in a can for convenience. When buying canned beef broth for use in dog treats, it’s always good to look for organic, low or no fat, and low sodium.

Gingered Beef Biscotti

Makes about 42 treats

 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 egg

3/4 cup beef broth (homemade or fat free, low sodium)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour with the ground ginger. Add the egg and beef broth and mix well.

3. Knead the mixture by hand until a smooth, homogenous dough forms.

4. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

5. Arrange the logs on a baking sheet, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the log comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

6. Remove the logs from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

7. As soon as the baked logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut each log into 1/2-inch slices.

8. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

9. Turn each slice over, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

10. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and leave the biscotti slices in the oven to dry out for about 2 hours.

 

These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but they’re best stored in the refrigerator.

Shepherd’s Pie: A Feast Fit for an Irish Wolfhound

Pacey eagerly chowing down on his Shepherd's Pie on St. Patrick's Day.

Pacey eagerly chowing down on his Shepherd’s Pie on St. Patrick’s Day.

Originally known as “cottage pie,” shepherd’s pie is a traditional British dish made by layering ground meat, mixed vegetables, and mashed potatoes. The dish is a staple of Irish cooking and makes a perfect post-St. Patrick’s Day meal, because it’s a great way to utilize leftovers. When preparing shepherd’s pie for your dog, remember that this is the type of extravagant treat that should only be served in small portions and reserved for special occasions, like St. Patty’s Day.

It didn’t take much finagling for me to make a shepherd’s pie that’s dog friendly. I had to omit the butter, cream, and salt that make mashed potatoes so scrumptious for us humans, but I promise that your dog won’t mind a bit with all the delicious beefy flavor that’s packed into this recipe. I also limited the veggies to peas and carrots, because they’re healthy for dogs and easy for their systems to digest. If you’d like, you could also include some corn kernels and/or green beans. (If you’re going to eat this shepherd’s pie along with your dog, you’ll definitely want to add salt and pepper to yours.)

While the Irish traditionally use lamb in shepherd’s pie, Americans typically use ground beef, which is what I call for in this recipe. If you prefer, you could easily substitute ground turkey.

Shepherd’s Pie

Makes 2 servings

 

3 Yukon Gold potatoes

1/4 cup low fat, low sodium beef broth, warmed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 cup fresh peas (or frozen peas, thawed)

 

1. Place the potatoes in a pot, and fill the pot with enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to establish a simmer. Cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes’ flesh can be easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the water from the potatoes. Once the potatoes have cooled just enough to handle, remove and discard the skins from the potatoes.

3. Place the peeled potatoes in a bowl, and mash with a fork or potato masher. As you mash, add the warm beef broth to help achieve a smoother consistency. Reserve the mashed potatoes for later.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the beef to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely brown.

6. Stir in the peas, and continue cooking to heat them through.

7. Divide the beef mixture evenly into two small bowls (or dog dishes). Top each portion with mashed potatoes.

8. This dish should be served warm, but be sure that the beef is not so hot that you run the risk of burning your dog’s tongue. Once the shepherd’s pie is assembled in the bowls, I like to give it a few minutes to cool down before serving it.

Note: Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.