Frozen Peanut Butter Treats

As the dog days of summer start heating up, it’s important to remember that your pooch is probably feeling just as hot and uncomfortable as you are! As always, you want to be sure to keep your dog’s bowl filled with clean, cool water, but from time to time it’s also nice to pamper him/her with a frosty treat. This quick and easy recipe for frozen peanut-flavored treats is a great way to help cool your hot dog down at the beach, by the pool, or after a good romp in the backyard.

Most dogs will really appreciate the novelty of a frozen treat, but as the treat starts to melt it can get pretty messy. A lot of dogs will want to play with the slippery treat like a toy—flinging, pushing, and chasing it all over the place before actually eating it. Therefore, it is best to serve these treats outdoors (or on an indoor surface that you don’t mind having to clean up).

Frozen Peanut Butter Treats

Frozen Peanut Butter Treats

Makes about 10 small treats

 

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce

Carob chips, as desired

 

1. Use a rubber spatula to stir the peanut butter together with the applesauce until the ingredients are well combined into a smooth, homogenous mixture.

 

2. Pour the mixture into the cavities of an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin.

 

3. Gently press 2 or 3 carob chips into the top of each treat.

 

4. Place in the freezer until firm, at least 2 hours.

Banana and Peanut Butter Chip Pupcakes with Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting

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 egg

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.

Doggie Birthday Cake

Here's the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey's birthday.

Here’s the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey’s 4th birthday–or 28th birthday if we’re counting in dog years.

Pacey turned four on Saturday (in human years), and that occasion certainly called for a very special treat. I pulled out all the stops and made him a carob-flavored birthday cake with carob-cream cheese frosting. This is one of the most extravagant dog treats I’ve made to date, and the birthday boy and his buddies absolutely LOVED it!

Honestly, the trickiest part of preparing this cake is making the frosting look neat and even, but don’t stress if it doesn’t look perfect. Remember, you are serving it to dogs after all. They’ll still love you and will still chow down on this delicious cake no matter how it looks.

If you’re ambitious (and have a really big dog), you can double the recipes below and then stack the two cakes with a layer of frosting in between. A 2-layer cake would have been way too much cake for a little dog like Pacey, so I just did one layer and only frosted the top of the cake, not the sides.

 

Doggie Birthday Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

 

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup honey

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

2 cups oat flour

1/2 cup carob powder

1 tsp baking powder

 

Frosting:

8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup carob powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

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

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, carob powder, and baking powder.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir thoroughly to combine.

5. Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch round cake pan.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

7. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and oil in a bowl and use a mixer to beat until combined. Add the carob powder and continue mixing until smooth.

8. When the cake is completely cool, use an offset metal spatula to frost the cake with the frosting.

 

NOTE: To make the decorative icing that I used to pipe the writing onto my cake, I took out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the frosting just before adding the carob powder. You can leave it white, as I did, or stir in a gel food coloring to dye it whatever color you’d like. Place the icing into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and pipe your desired décor onto the cake.

This cake should be stored in the refrigerator.

Carob Cookies

Although dogs aren’t able to eat the chocolate candies that we humans so appreciate receiving for Valentine’s Day, these little carob cookies make a sweet substitute. I can pretty much guarantee that your dog will love the rich carob flavor, and you can enjoy the cookies right along with your dog if you want to!

The recipe is so simple that you can have these cookies mixed, cut out, and baked in less than half an hour—perfect for those times that you find yourself needing to whip something up at the last minute.

Carob Cookies

Carob Cookies

Makes about 25 2-inch cookies

 

1/2 cup carob powder

1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more if needed for dusting

1/4 cup honey

2/3 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Combine the carob powder and flour.

3. Add the honey and water, and stir to combine. Knead by hand until a smooth dough forms.

4. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick, lightly flouring the countertop and/or rolling pin if needed. Cut the dough into pieces using your desired cookie cutter, and arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. Bake until the treats are firm to the touch, about 12 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

These treats may be stored at room temperature, but if it’s particularly hot or humid where you live, it’s better to keep them in the refrigerator.

Dogs-Love-Em Carob Brownies

Most people have heard somewhere along the way that chocolate is toxic to dogs. This is true.  However, there is a rather tasty substitute for chocolate that is perfectly safe for canine consumption. It’s called carob. Carob is the edible pulp of a pod harvested from a Mediterranean evergreen known as the carob tree. Carob is naturally sweeter than chocolate, and it does NOT contain theobromine, the chemical found in cocoa pods that makes chocolate poisonous to dogs.

Carob is commonly sold powdered, in chips, or as a syrup. These brownies call for carob powder, which can be used interchangeably with cocoa powder in most human food recipes. In my small town I was able to find carob powder at both the health food store and the regular grocery store, so I don’t think you’ll have any trouble hunting it down. I found that the price of carob powder is comparable to that of quality cocoa powder and it’s just as easy to work with.

Carob Brownies

Carob Brownies

Makes about 24 servings

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 cup carob powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons honey

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flour, carob powder, and baking powder.

3. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce, and honey, and beat well to combine.

4. Immediately pour the batter into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Bake until the brownies are fully set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

5. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.

 

NOTES: This is one treat that it’s easy to enjoy right along with your pets–which makes it a great recipe to make for a doggie birthday party or play date. I’m not ashamed to say that I ate one of these brownies, and it was actually pretty good. Not as sweet and flavorful as a real chocolate brownie (obviously) but still enjoyable.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator. You can transfer the uneaten brownies to an airtight container for storage, or simply leave the cut brownies inside the baking pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap before placing in the fridge.