Spiced Pear Dog Treats

“Spiced pear” may be a flavor that seems a tad bit sophisticated for dog treats at first glance. However, these treats were a big hit with my dog Pacey. Any dog that likes apples is sure to enjoy the fruity sweetness of pears, and the blend of three different spices gives this recipe a little more pizazz. In fact, the balance of sweetness and spice makes these the perfect treats for your dog to share with YOU! Although to people they’re more like a cracker than a cookie, the treats are actually pretty flavorful–they also fill the house with an amazing autumnal aroma as they bake.

I cut my batch of treats into really large pear-shaped pieces, about 3 1/2 inches long. If you use a smaller cutter, be sure to keep an eye on the treats as they bake, because you don’t want the treats to get overly browned and you probably won’t need the full 20 minutes of baking time that is listed in the recipe.

Spiced Pear Treats

Spiced Pear Dog Treats

Makes about 12 large treats

 

1 medium pear, peeled and grated

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup water

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground ginger

1 pinch ground allspice

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Place the pear, honey, and water in a bowl and stir to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, while stirring to combine. Use your hands to knead the mixture until it forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

5. On a floured countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into pieces. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip each of the treats over and continue baking until firm to the touch and slightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Allow the treats to cool completely before serving.

 

Store these treats in the refrigerator.

Gingered Beef Biscotti

Beef is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to dog treat flavors, because dogs are naturally carnivores. I don’t know a single dog that doesn’t love the flavor of beef and digest it easily. (I guess maybe there’s one out there, but I certainly haven’t met him yet.) And making these treats in the shape of Italian biscotti puts a fun little twist on plain ol’ beef biscuits.

If you’ve got the time and inclination, you can make your own beef broth or beef stock for this recipe. If you do, just be sure to leave out any salt, onion, or garlic. However, most grocery stores now carry high-quality, natural beef broths that come in a can for convenience. When buying canned beef broth for use in dog treats, it’s always good to look for organic, low or no fat, and low sodium.

Gingered Beef Biscotti

Makes about 42 treats

 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 egg

3/4 cup beef broth (homemade or fat free, low sodium)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour with the ground ginger. Add the egg and beef broth and mix well.

3. Knead the mixture by hand until a smooth, homogenous dough forms.

4. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

5. Arrange the logs on a baking sheet, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the log comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

6. Remove the logs from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

7. As soon as the baked logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut each log into 1/2-inch slices.

8. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

9. Turn each slice over, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

10. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and leave the biscotti slices in the oven to dry out for about 2 hours.

 

These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but they’re best stored in the refrigerator.

Doggie Dim Sum

I love Chinese food of all kinds but especially dumplings. When I was living in Poughkeepsie, New York, my friends and I discovered the greatest hole-in-the-wall dumpling place. (Due to some confusing signage, there’s still much debate as to whether this restaurant is named “Dumplings Palace” or “Palace Dumplings.”) The menu features several types of soup, a couple seaweed salads, and about 40 different types of dumplings. The kitchen staff consists solely of one little old man who works tirelessly to make all of the dumplings from scratch. Each type of dumpling at this place was more delicious than the next, and my mouth is watering just reminiscing about it.

This dog-friendly recipe is a take-off on the Chinese dumplings that I love so much. I used cheese as the filling (because what dog doesn’t love cheese?), but you could use diced fruit, fully cooked bacon or lean ground meat, or any combination that you like. These dumplings are a great snack for larger dogs, but they can be messy and unmanageable for smaller dogs—especially with more crumbly fillings. If you’ve got a smaller dog, you may want to cut the dumpling in half or quarters or even to make the dumplings without any filling to cut down on the mess.

Cheese Dumplings

Makes about 20

 

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 large egg

3/4 cup homemade or low sodium, low fat chicken broth

Low fat cheese cubes, as needed

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flours, baking powder, and ginger in a bowl. Stir in the egg and broth. Knead the mixture by hand until a smooth dough forms.

3. On a very lightly floured surface, roll the dough out as thinly as you can. Use 3-inch round cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut the dough into circles.

4. Place a cheese cube on the center of each circle of dough. Bring the edges of the dough over the filling and pinch it together to form a little bundle.

5. Arrange the dumplings on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

6. Allow the dumplings to cool completely before serving.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.

Gingerbread Cookies

Until I started doing research for this blog I wasn’t even sure if ground ginger was safe for dogs. I have since discovered that a small amount of ginger not only is safe but can actually be quite beneficial. A bit of ginger will ease nausea and motion sickness, and some believe that it can also help prevent arthritis, colitis, bronchitis, and other inflammations. If your dog is prone to motion sickness, you may want to keep a few of these cookies on hand in your freezer. Give your pup the treat about 30 minutes before hopping into the car to help ward off nausea.

I chose to cut my cookies into the traditional gingerbread man shape and decorate them using melted yogurt chips, which nicely mimics the look of the sugary icing that adorns our human baked goods. White yogurt chips can be found in most health food stores, but you could also substitute candy coating melts, carob chips, or specialty “dog treat coating chips,” or simply leave your gingerbread men au naturale.

These crunchy treats should be stored in an airtight container.

 Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 45 (3-inch cookies)

 

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup molasses

3 1/2 cups wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

White yogurt chips, as needed for piping (optional)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the water and molasses.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and spices.

4. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and knead until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

5. Generously flour the countertop and roll the dough out into an even sheet about 1/4-inch thick. You may also need to flour the top of the dough to keep the rolling pin from sticking. Use your desired cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes.

6. Arrange the cookies on a prepared baking sheet, and bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

7. If you’re going to pipe decorations, bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat.

8. Place the yogurt chips in a glass or metal bowl just large enough to fit on top of the pot of simmering water. Place the bowl onto the pot. Be sure to stir frequently with a rubber spatula as the yogurt chips melts to prevent them from scorching. Be very careful, because if the yogurt gets overheated and scorches it becomes virtually inedible. If the water begins to boil vigorously enough to actually touch the bowl, remove the bowl from the pot and turn down the heat before replacing the bowl. To avoid overheating, be sure to remove the bowl from the heat as soon as the yogurt coating is completely melted.

9. Transfer the melted coating to a piping bag. Use scissors to snip off the very tip of the piping bag. (You don’t really need to use a coupler or piping tip for this small project).

10. Once the cookies are completely cool, pipe on your desired design. Be sure to allow the coating time to set completely before serving.