Cornbread is a general term that is used for a fairly wide variety of quickbread recipes made with cornmeal and baking powder. As the name “quickbread” suggests, cornbread batter is quick to mix and just as quick to bake. I had these mini corn muffins made from start to finish in under fifteen minutes.
To produce cornmeal, fresh corn is dried and then ground into a meal. Cornmeal is available in two varieties: yellow and white, depending on the color of the corn that was used to make it. Yellow corn is naturally sweeter than white corn, which makes yellow cornmeal slightly sweeter than white cornmeal; however, the two types can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
There is some debate about cornmeal amongst pet owners. Dog food (not treats!) should make up about 90% of your pet’s diet, and I believe that there is a very valid argument against cornmeal being used as a main ingredient in these types of commercial dog foods. Yes, some dogs have a sensitivity to corn. Yes, dogs are naturally carnivores and digest meat protein easier than corn protein. But for me the real problem is that commercial dog food companies are using cornmeal as a cheap substitution for meat protein in a product that is being marketed as high quality, nutritious, and even “meaty.”
However, some dog owners are choosing to eliminate corn completely from their dog’s diet. Here are my two cents on that issue. Like most things, cornmeal is okay in moderation. As with all the recipes on this blog, these muffins are intended to be given only once in a while as a special treat. Cornmeal adds both flavor and texture to dog treat recipes, and unless your dog has a sensitivity or allergy, I personally don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with occasionally incorporating it into your dog’s diet.
If you do object to cornmeal, in many recipes you can substitute oat flour instead.
Mini Corn Muffins
Makes about 36 mini muffins
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth (homemade or low fat and low sodium)
1 large egg
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place the honey, oil, broth, and egg in a bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to just combine.
5. Lightly prepare a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full of batter.
6. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back when touched, about 8 minutes.
These treats may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
With their delicious natural sweetness, apples make a great flavoring ingredient for dog treats. Whenever you’re baking it’s very important to choose a crisp apple with flesh that won’t break down into mush in the oven. The classic choice for baking is Granny Smith, which I used when I developed this recipe, but there are plenty of other varieties of apple that hold up equally well in the oven. You may want to branch out and try a Jonathon, Jonagold, Braeburn, Fuji, or Cortland apple, for example.
All of the ingredients in this recipe are readily available at most grocery stores. If you can’t find wheat germ in the baking aisle, it may be hiding in the organic or health food section. Although wheat germ is generally accepted as a safe ingredient and is perfectly harmless to most pets, some dogs can develop sensitivities to wheat (i.e. gastrointestinal issues). If this is the case with your pooch, you can omit the wheat germ and whole wheat flour in this recipe and substitute 2 cups of all-purpose or unbleached white flour instead.
For easy clean up and, of course, for the cuteness factor, I used decorative paper muffin cups to line the pan, but they’re not really necessary. Just remember to spray the pan generously with cooking spray if you’re not using the liners, because this batter tends to stick to the pan. And hopefully this goes without saying, but . . . if you use the paper liners, remember to remove them before serving to your dog.
These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.
Apple Mini Muffins
Makes about 42 muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 of a granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and small diced (about 1/3 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
3. Add the egg, honey, water, applesauce, and diced apple. Stir to combine.
4. Prepare the mini muffin pan by lining with paper muffin cups or spraying lightly with cooking spray.
5. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way up.
6. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back when touched, about 9 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool completely before serving.
NOTE: To make standard size muffins, prepare as above but increase the baking time to about 20 minutes.