Christmas Tree Treats

Each year I bake dozens of Christmas cookies to deliver to my neighbors, and this year I expanded my list of recipients to include my neighbors’ dogs. I made these cute little Christmas tree dog treats, wrapped them in decorative cellophane treat bags (from a craft store), and tied each package with a ribbon. The recipe is simple and inexpensive but results in a beautiful holiday gift that is sure to be greatly appreciated. The treats are also completely natural, so you can give them in good conscience! They are wheat free, and the fresh spinach puree gives the treats a festive, dark green color and a bundle of healthy nutrients.

At first glance spinach may not seem like a flavor that is particularly dog-friendly; however, literally every dog that has ever tried my spinach flavored treats has happily gobbled them up and begged for more. Who knew? Even dogs that do not typically like to eat veggies seem to really enjoy the spinach flavor.

So, until our next blog post in the new year, See Spot Bake wishes you Yappy Howlidays, Feliz Navidog, and all of the other ridiculous dog-related yuletide sentiments! But seriously, MERRY CHRISTMAS and a YAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your pack!

ChristmasTrees

Christmas Tree Treats

Makes about 40 (1 1/2 inch) dog treats


8 oz organic spinach leaves

2 eggs

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 cups white rice flour, plus more for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Combine the spinach, eggs, and water in a blender. Blend to form a smooth puree.

3. Place the white rice flour in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour the spinach puree into the flour, stirring to combine well. Continue stirring until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

4. On a floured countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Using a Christmas tree cookie cutter (or any other cookie cutter of your choosing), cut the treats out. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The treats can be placed close together, because they will not spread during baking.

5. Bake on the middle rack for 8 minutes. Flip each of the treats over, and return to the oven to continue baking for an additional 8 minutes. Allow the treats to cool completely before serving.


These treats are best stored in an airtight container inside the refrigerator.

Grain Free Dog Treats

In the past few weeks I have had a handful of people ask me about making a grain free dog treat. In fact it seems like I’m encountering more and more dogs who are on a completely grain free diet. The recipe that I’m sharing today is perfectly tasty to make as-is, but it also makes a great baseline to add your own flavoring ingredients and creativity. For example it would be simple to add minced herbs or small diced veggies or to replace all or part of the broth with canned tuna water or freshly squeezed veggie juice.

It may confuse some of you that the main ingredient in a grain free recipe is buckwheat flour. Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is NOT a type of wheat. As a matter of fact, buckwheat is not a grain or cereal of any kind. (So, yes, it is gluten free!) Buckwheat is actually a seed that is harvested from a flowering plant closely related to rhubarb. The pyramid-shaped buckwheat seeds, or “groats”, may be toasted and sold whole or may be ground into a rich, gray flour labeled as buckwheat or kasha flour. Buckwheat flour is now widely available at most grocery and health food stores, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it in your local baking aisle.

Grain Free Treats

Basic Grain Free Dog Treats

Makes 60 (2-inch) treats

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup chicken or beef broth

2 cups buckwheat flour

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Combine the olive oil, egg, and broth.

3. Slowly pour the buckwheat flour into the egg mixture, stirring constantly to incorporate.

4. Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth, homogenous dough, about 2 minutes.

5. Roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into pieces using your desired cookie cutter.

6. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake for 6 minutes. Flip each of the treats over, then return to the oven and continue baking until the treats are firm to the touch, about 6 minutes more.

 

These treats are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ham and Cheese Dog Treats

Ham and cheese is a classic culinary combination for very good reason. The gooey cheese and thin sliced ham create a satisfying textural contrast, and the two flavors work deliciously together. Most dogs find each of these ingredients mouthwatering on its own, so the double-whammy makes this recipe is virtually irresistible!

It’s best to use a reduced sodium, low fat deli ham, rather than a ham steak or other thickly sliced ham. Never use Virginia ham or other super salty ham. The cheese should be low in fat, but you can use whatever specific variety you like. I used Swiss cheese, but cheddar, mozzarella, or another mild cheese would also work well.

Ham & Cheese

Ham and Cheese Treats

Makes about 20 large treats

 

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/4 cup chopped ham

1/4 cup finely chopped or grated reduced fat cheese

1/2 cup water

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place the flour, ham, and cheese in a bowl.

3. Add the water to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

4. Roll the dough out into a sheet 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into pieces.

5. Bake until the treats are firm to the touch but not yet browned, about 12 minutes. If desired, flip the treats over halfway through the baking time.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.

Pizza Bites

About 36% of all of the pizza consumed in the United States each year is topped with pepperoni. In fact, we Americans annually consume about 252 million pounds of pepperoni on our pizzas. Those are some staggering statistics! So I thought to myself, why not make a pepperoni dog treat? Dogs can’t have all of the grease, tomato sauce, and copious amounts of gooey cheese that make our human-food pizzas so delicious, but these tasty little treats do have a touch of Parmesan cheese and lots of turkey pepperoni bits.

Turkey pepperoni, which is a dried sausage made from turkey, contains less calories, fat, and sodium than regular pepperoni, which is made with pork. As with any special treat, you don’t want to give your dog too much turkey pepperoni, but in moderation it is perfectly fine. Be sure to buy mild pepperoni for this recipe. Do NOT ever give your dog any pepperoni labeled “spicy”.

 

Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites

Makes about 75 treats

 

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 oz finely grated parmesan cheese

10 slices turkey pepperoni, chopped

1 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, cheese, and chopped pepperoni.

3. Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients and knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

4. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes.

5. Take a piece of dough (about a teaspoonful), roll it into a ball, and place it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder of the dough. The dough balls can be placed close together on the baking sheet but should not be touching.

6. Bake until firm to the touch and baked all the way through, about 12 minutes.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.