Howl-o-ween Dog Treats

If, like me and thousands of other Americans, you will be dressing your dog up in an exceedingly silly costume this evening, then your poor pooch certainly deserves a special Halloween treat! You can make this recipe as simple or as fancy as you like. The carrot cut-out cookies look pretty even if they are left plain. I took the extra time to decorate the treats. I used melted yogurt chips to make an easy icing for the cookies, but you could use melted carob chips or dog treat coating chips or make your own sugar-free peanut butter or cream cheese icing (or use all of the above!) to decorate. I used unsweetened carob chips for the ghosts’ eyes. Other ingredients that make great, dog-safe “sprinkles” are:  sesame seeds, yogurt chips, natural peanut butter chips, crumbled bacon, shredded or diced carrot, blueberries, or unsweetened dried cranberries.

Remember your mom warning you not to pig out on too much Halloween candy while trick-or-treating? The same principle holds true with Halloween dog treats. You don’t want to load these cookies down with too many toppings or your dog could end up with a tummy-ache. Less is always more: this recipe should only be fed sparingly as a special holiday treat.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Halloween Treats

Carrot Halloween Treats

Makes about 8 large treats

 

1/4 cup finely shredded carrots

1 tablespoon honey

1 large egg

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

About 2 cups yogurt chips (or your desired icing)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the carrots, honey, egg, and water in a bowl.

3. Combine the cinnamon with the flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Use your hands to gently knead the mixture until it forms a smooth dough.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cookie cutter to cut the dough into pieces. Arrange the treats on a prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 18 minutes. To ensure even browning, flip the treats over halfway through the baking time.

6. While the treats are cooling, place the yogurt chips in a metal bowl and place over a small pot of simmering water. Stir the yogurt chips with a rubber spatula until they are just melted. Be very careful not to overheat them!

7. Once the treats are completely cool, decorate them with the icing. You can spread the icing using an offset spatula or pipe the icing onto the cookies using a piping bag. Allow the icing to fully set and serve.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. Unfortunately for dogs, they can’t have all of the delicious butter and sugar that make our cinnamon rolls so heavenly, but these cute little dog treats do capture the beautiful, cinnamon-y spiral of the people-food version.

The two-tone spiral on the finished treats may look complicated, but the recipe is actually fairly easy to make. The only tricky part is shaping the dough. It’s important to put the time and energy into rolling each of the dough layers out into an even rectangle so that you end up with a neatly rolled log. If the dough layers don’t start out at an even thickness and shape, you won’t end up with a nice, uniform spiral in the end.

You’ll notice right away that the honey dough is a lot “softer” and stickier than the cinnamon dough. To ensure that the assembled log of dough stays together, be sure to allow time for the log to chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. After the dough has chilled, you’ll find that it’s much easier to slice and that you’ll have much better looking treats as a result.

These treats are HUGE. Unless you have a monster dog, you’ll need to cut or break each treat into small pieces before serving it. Don’t worry, these treats are very soft so that you can easily break off appropriately sized chunks using your hands (or you could slice them into more uniform pieces using a knife).

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Makes about 18 large treats

Honey Dough:

3 cups unbleached white flour

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup honey

Cinnamon Dough:

3 cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Make the honey dough: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and then knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and reserve.

3. Make the cinnamon dough: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and then knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

4. Roll the cinnamon dough out into a rectangle about 8 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long and 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with the reserved honey dough, creating a rectangle of the same dimensions.

5. Place the rectangle of cinnamon dough on top of the rectangle of honey dough and gently press down to adhere the two layers of dough together. Use a sharp knife to trim any ragged edges off of the dough, creating a neat rectangle.

6. Starting with the edge of the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up (like you would a jelly roll) to form a log about 12 inches long.

8. Wrap the log completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

9. Remove the plastic wrap from the log. Using a sharp slicing knife, slice the log into slices 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. The slices will be about 3 inches wide. (Try to keep the treats as round as possible, but as they’re cut the slices will inevitably squish a little bit to form more of a “biscotti” shape with a flattened bottom edge.)

9. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each treat over, and return to the oven. Continue baking until the treats are lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes more.

These treats are best stored in the refrigerator.

My Opening Day at the Farmers Market

All set up by 7am and ready for business!

All set up by 7am and ready for business!

Last Saturday was a great opening day for See Spot Bake at the Gettysburg Farmers Market. It was a lot of fun, I got to talk with a ton of people, and I sold a surprising number of dog treats! I was offering five different varieties of treats, and I completely sold out of two varieties by the end of the market! (Peanut Butter Cookies and Liver Treats, in case you were wondering.) You live and learn, as they say, so of course there are a few things that I’d like to improve upon for next week, but overall the day was a success.

My fully stocked table. (Custom polka dot tablecloth courtesy of my Mom & her awesome sewing skills)

My fully stocked table. (Custom polka dot tablecloth courtesy of my mom & her superior sewing skills. Thanks, Mom!)

A cool new development in my business plan is that after the market each week I will be donating any unsold See Spot Bake dog treats to the Adams County SPCA. I’m super excited to have this opportunity to support my local SPCA in an ongoing way and to give the animals at the shelter some sweet treats!

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.

My Furry Valentine

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! This week I tweaked my standard Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits recipe (posted on 4/17/12) to make dog-themed “conversation heart” cookies to send as valentines to my four-legged friends.

I followed the posted recipe, cutting the cookies out with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. To ensure that the cookies bake flat enough to neatly pipe the writing onto them, it’s essential to dock the dough by gently poking it a few times with the tines of a fork. This will help keep air bubbles from puffing up as the cookies bake. Using my cookie cutter, the recipe yielded about 45 cookies that needed to be baked for about 15 minutes at 350°F.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the icing that you’d like to use. I melted plain yogurt chips because the white color contrasted nicely with the color of the cookies and made the writing stand out. If you’d like, you could use melted carob chips or natural peanut butter chips instead. The method used to melt them is essentially the same.

Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. 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 on top of 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.

The water should stay at a simmer. If it begins to boil enough to actually touch the bottom of the bowl, remove the bowl from the pot and turn down the heat to establish a simmer before replacing the bowl. Be sure to remove the bowl from the heat as soon as the yogurt coating is completely melted.

Transfer the melted icing to a piping bag fitted with a small, round piping tip. Once the cookies are completely cool, pipe on Valentine’s Day sayings or whatever messages you like. Unless you make much larger cookies, the sayings will have to be very short. I picked cutesy ones like you might find on those conversation heart candies that we all love this time of year. Here are some of the sayings I used:

-U R Top Dog

-I Dig U

-My Pet

-I Woof U

-Paw Some

-Puppy Love

-Fur Fect

-Hot Dog!

Be sure to allow the coating enough time to set completely before wrapping these sweet treats up in a pretty package for your furry valentine.