Peanut Butter Snowballs

There’s quite a bit of snow on the ground outside my window here in Gettysburg, and I’d say we’ve officially arrived in the dead of winter. Given these chilly conditions, frozen dog treats may not seem very seasonal, but I thought that I could get away with it if the frozen goodies looked like little snowballs. Plus, my dog and his pals seem to enjoy frozen treats no matter what the season!

These simple, no-bake treats consist of a peanut butter base that is rolled in unsweetened coconut flakes to give it the snowy look. If you’re in a rush or don’t happen to have the coconut on hand, you can certainly skip that step and just freeze the peanut butter mixture in balls, or press the mixture into an ice cube tray or other mold before popping them into the freezer. The coconut flour really helps give this dough the body that it needs to be easily rolled into balls, but in a pinch it can be replaced with an extra 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats.

If you’re going to be storing these treats in the freezer for any amount of time, I find it best to freeze them inside an airtight container–such as Gladware or Tupperware–lined with wax paper. If your furry friends are going to be eating the treats right away, you could just freeze the treats on a plate, platter, or tray lined with wax paper and covered with plastic wrap.

 Peanut Butter Snowballs

Peanut Butter Snowballs

Makes about 24 treats

1 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup coconut flour

Unsweetened flaked coconut, as needed for coating

 

1. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, oats, and coconut flour.

2. Place about 3/4 cup of the coconut flakes in a small, shallow bowl.

3. Use a tablespoon or small scoop the peanut butter mixture into portions. Roll each scoop between your hands to form it into a ball.

4. One by one, place each peanut butter ball into the bowl of coconut and roll it around until the ball is completely coated in coconut.

5. Arrange the treats inside a container or on a plate lined with wax paper and place them inside the freezer for at least 2 hours. The treats can be placed very close together for freezing but should be arranged in a single layer if you want to keep the round shape.

 

Grain Free Coconut Macaroons

Coconut flour behaves differently than any other grain-free flour, so baking with it can be somewhat daunting. Despite the unique challenges that it presents to baking, coconut flour makes an excellent addition to your pet’s diet. It contains a significant amount of fiber, protein, and lauric acid, a healthy fat that is great for the immune system as well as skin and coat health.

Coconut flour is actually a powder made by grinding defatted, dehydrated coconut meat. Since coconut is ultra absorbent, recipes using coconut flour require at least an equal amount of liquid. Due to this unusual texture and absorbency, coconut flour is typically not used for more than 20% of the total weight of flour in a recipe. However, the following recipe calls for 100% coconut flour. Even though this recipe contains plenty of water and an egg to help bind it, the dough has a loose, sandy texture and must be pressed firmly together in order to be able to scoop it into cookies. In spite of that, the baked cookies hold together quite well. And the super soft texture makes them ideal for older dogs or any dog with dental issues.

I got the #30 cookie scoop that I used to make this recipe at Sur La Table.

I got the #30 cookie scoop that I used to make this recipe at Sur La Table.

This recipe is best prepared with a cookie scoop, also known as a disher or spring-loaded ice cream scoop. These spring-loaded, stainless steel scoops can be found in a wide range of sizes at most kitchen stores. (I bought mine at Sur La Table. http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-698407/Stainless-Steel+Ice+Cream+Scoop) These scoops are numbered according to their size using an industry-wide system; a #100 is the smallest at 3/4 tablespoon or 3/8 fl oz, while a #4 is the largest (that I’ve seen) at 1 cup or 8 fl oz. To make these macaroons, I used a #30 scoop that holds about 2 1/2 tablespoons or 1.25 fl oz and has a diameter of about 2 inches. You can use any small-ish size scoop that you’d like to make this recipe, but the spring action is really necessary to get the soft dough to come out cleanly in the nice, round scoops that make these dog treats look like the people-food macaroons that we all know and love.

 Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Makes about 3 dozen (2-inch) dog treats

 

1 3/4 cups coconut flour

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

2 1/2 cups water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flour and shredded coconut in a bowl.

3. Add the honey, egg, and water, and stir well to combine.

4. Use your hands or the back of your spoon to press the dough down and pack it tightly into the bowl. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a non-stick baking sheet. Pack the dough down into the bowl as often as needed to be able to continue scooping it easily.

5. Bake until dry and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

6. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and allow the treats to cool inside the oven for about 1 hour.

 

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