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
Makes about 30 (1-inch by 1-inch) bars
1 1/2 cups whole ripe strawberries, stems and leaves removed
1/4 cup water
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.
Dogs can enjoy many of the same berries that we humans love: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Blueberries in particular are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. They are also naturally sweet and delicious and turn these dog treats a pretty bluish-purple color.
When it comes to feeding your dog blueberries, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Too many fiber-packed berries can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea, so feed berries (and these blueberry biscuits) as a special treat, not as a daily supplement.
It’s also important to note that you should never feed your dog fruits or berries that contain pits or stones (like cherries, for example), because many pits/stones are poisonous and they also pose a major choking hazard.
Makes about 30 (2 1/2-inch long) bones
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, thaw them first)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oat bran
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour, plus more as needed for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place the blueberries in a food processor or blender, and process into a puree.
3. In a bowl, combine the blueberry puree with the honey, egg, and water.
4. Add the oat bran, and stir to combine.
5. Add the flour in two additions, stirring well after each addition.
6. Use your hands to press and knead the mixture together to form a smooth ball of dough.
7. Since rice flour doesn’t contain any gluten, this dough is delicate and extra care must be taken when rolling it out. You may or may not need to dust the countertop before rolling it out.
8. Divide the dough in half. (If you try rolling too much dough at once, you’ll have trouble rolling it out.) Use a rolling pin, to very gently roll the first half of the dough out into a sheet about 1/2 inch thick. If you roll the dough too thin, it will not hold together when you make the cut-outs.
9. Use your desired cookie cutter to cut the dough out into shapes. Arrange the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.
10. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
11. Bake until the biscuits are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.