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.

Dog Walk Energy Bites

Yet another perk of Autumn is that it brings perfect weather for dog walking (at least here in the Mid-Atlantic states). When you’re out on a nice long walk or hike it’s always good to have a few small treats in your pocket, especially if you’re still training your dog to walk properly on a leash. These little no-bake treats are great for throwing into a zip-lock bag and taking with you on your outdoor adventures. The recipe is very simple. Just remember to allow yourself enough time for the treats to firm up in the refrigerator before you head out the door.

When my dog Pacey is on a walk, he is on a mission: he doesn’t want to stop to smell the roses, he doesn’t want to be petted, and he will not take a treat. Therefore, I wasn’t able to actually get these treats genuinely taste-tested on a long walk. But my slightly overweight chihuahua really enjoyed them while hanging out on the couch at home.

Energy Bites

Dog Walk Energy Bites

Makes about 16 treats

 

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup natural peanut butter chips

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup wheat germ

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon molasses

 

1. Place the coconut, peanut butter chips, oats, and wheat germ in a bowl, and stir to combine.

2. Add the honey and molasses to the dry ingredients, stirring well until all the the dry ingredients are well-coated with the honey.

3. Use a tablespoon to take a scoop of the mixture. Use your hands to squeeze and roll the mixture into a ball. (The mixture will be very wet and sticky, so this part can be a bit messy.)

4. Arrange the treats on a tray or large plate and put them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up. The treats should then be stored in the refrigerator.

 

NOTE: A tablespoon is a good-sized scoop for most dogs. If you’ve got a little dog, you may want to make the balls slightly smaller. Try using a 1/2 tablespoon or (for really small pups) a teaspoon. This recipe makes about 48 teaspoon-sized treats.

Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

To be honest, I was shocked at how successful this dog treat recipe was. Dried cranberries were a new flavor for my dog Pacey, and I wasn’t exactly sure if he would like them. He went totally nuts for these! Seriously. I actually had to chastise him to get him to stop jumping up and begging for more! I would say without a doubt that these are his new favorite treats.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Your main concern will be using the right ingredients. The coconut flakes and dried cranberries must be UNSWEETENED. You will probably need to head to the natural or health food section of your grocery store to find these, and the labels will be marked “unsweetened.” (You don’t ever want to use “Craisins” or any other sugary ingredients in dog treats.) Likewise, the peanut butter should be natural with no sugar added. And, as always, it’s best to choose good quality oats and honey/molasses.

 Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

Makes about 40 treats (1 1/2-inch squares)

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup natural, unsweetened crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup honey or molasses

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the oats, coconut, and cranberries in a large bowl.

3. Add the peanut butter and honey (or molasses) to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are well-coated and the mixture is holding together.

4. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper that are the size of your baking sheet. Place one piece of parchment on the countertop, pour the granola bar mixture onto it, and cover the mixture with the second piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll on the granola bar mixture out into an even, rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. The mixture will be very sticky, so rolling it out between the 2 sheets of parchment paper will keep it from sticking to the rolling pin/countertop/your hands/etc.

5. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and discard it. With the sheet of granola mixture still on top of the bottom layer of parchment paper, transfer it to the baking sheet—keeping the parchment paper on the bottom to line the baking sheet.

6. Bake until the granola is firm and light golden brown, about 14 minutes.

7. Allow the sheet of granola to cool completely, then use a sharp slicing knife to cut the rectangular sheet into pieces. (I cut 1 1/2-inch squares, but you could cut traditional rectangular bars, or another desired shape.)

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Oat Balls

One of my favorite things about early summer is the bounty of fresh strawberries. When I was little, we used to go once a year to a local berry farm to pick our own strawberries. Being out in the fields was such a novelty for us suburbanites, and once we’d picked what seemed like a thousand strawberries, we’d take them home and my mom would make strawberry shortcake and lots of homemade jam.

I haven’t picked berries myself yet this year, but I did pick up a bunch of delicious strawberries at a local farm market recently, so I decided to share some with our doggies. When these treats are baking, they smell very much like strawberry shortcake, and most dogs will love the sweetness of the berries and honey.

Using a teaspoon to portion the dough makes a really nice sized treat for most dogs, and the finished treats are still soft enough to break into smaller pieces if you need to for really small pups.

Strawberry Oat Balls

Makes about 72 treats

 

1 cup whole, fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons honey

1 egg

1/4 cup water

2 cups oat flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup oat bran

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender.

3. Transfer the strawberry puree to a bowl and combine with the honey, egg, and water.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour, rice flour, and oat bran.

5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.

6. Scoop the dough by the teaspoonful, and use your hands to roll each scoop into a ball.

7. Arrange the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until the balls are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but will last longer in the refrigerator.

Banana and Peanut Butter Chip Pupcakes with Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting

With mashed banana, peanut butter chips, and a bit of honey, these “pupcakes” are very tasty for canines and humans alike. Even when made with a light or fat free cream cheese, the carob-cream cheese frosting is fairly rich, so these treats should be saved only for very special occasions and given in limited quantities. A big dog is probably okay eating a whole pupcake in one sitting, but for most dogs half, or even less, will be plenty. You can store the remaining pupcakes in the refrigerator for later or be really nice and share with some of your friends—this particular treat makes a very fancy-looking, gourmet gift that any dog would certainly be happy to receive.

I piped the frosting on using a piping bag fitted with a star tip because it makes a beautiful presentation, but you can simply use a spatula to smear a layer of frosting onto the top of each pupcake if you prefer. The “smear” technique uses less frosting per pupcake, and they taste just as good.

Banana and Peanut Butter Chip Pupcakes with Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 15 cupcakes

 

1 very ripe, medium banana, mashed

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup water

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup natural peanut butter chips

 

Carob-Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz low fat or fat free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened

3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1/2 cup carob powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the mashed banana, honey, egg, applesauce, and water in a bowl.

3. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir well to combine.

4. Stir in the peanut butter chips until just incorporated.

5. Bake until the tops of the pupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

6. Allow the pupcakes to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

7. Combine the cream cheese, oil, and carob powder in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until the ingredients form a smooth, homogenous, creamy mixture.

8. When the pupcakes are cool, use a piping bag or an offset spatula to top each pupcake with frosting.

9. Server immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerating for later, be sure to allow the frosting to soften at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Snickerdoodles

A snickerdoodle is a type of sugar cookie that is traditionally coated in cinnamon-sugar before it’s baked. In this dog-friendly version, the snickerdoodles are sweetened with honey and packed with cinnamon flavor. If your dog really likes cinnamon, you can also sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon on top of each cookie immediately after they come out of the oven.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Makes 28 cookies

3/4 cup oat flour

3/4 cup brown rice flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

1 large egg

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Combine the flours and cinnamon in bowl.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and add the honey, egg, and water. Stir until the mixture is well combined. Use your hands to press the mixture into a smooth dough.

4. Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter, and arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch, 19-20 minutes. When the cookies are done baking, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave the cookies to dry out for 1 to 2 hours.

 

These cookies may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Doggie Birthday Cake

Here's the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey's birthday.

Here’s the carob cake with carob-cream cheese frosting that I made to celebrate Pacey’s 4th birthday–or 28th birthday if we’re counting in dog years.

Pacey turned four on Saturday (in human years), and that occasion certainly called for a very special treat. I pulled out all the stops and made him a carob-flavored birthday cake with carob-cream cheese frosting. This is one of the most extravagant dog treats I’ve made to date, and the birthday boy and his buddies absolutely LOVED it!

Honestly, the trickiest part of preparing this cake is making the frosting look neat and even, but don’t stress if it doesn’t look perfect. Remember, you are serving it to dogs after all. They’ll still love you and will still chow down on this delicious cake no matter how it looks.

If you’re ambitious (and have a really big dog), you can double the recipes below and then stack the two cakes with a layer of frosting in between. A 2-layer cake would have been way too much cake for a little dog like Pacey, so I just did one layer and only frosted the top of the cake, not the sides.

 

Doggie Birthday Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

 

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup honey

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

2 cups oat flour

1/2 cup carob powder

1 tsp baking powder

 

Frosting:

8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup carob powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Combine the eggs, oil, honey, and yogurt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, carob powder, and baking powder.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir thoroughly to combine.

5. Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch round cake pan.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

7. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and oil in a bowl and use a mixer to beat until combined. Add the carob powder and continue mixing until smooth.

8. When the cake is completely cool, use an offset metal spatula to frost the cake with the frosting.

 

NOTE: To make the decorative icing that I used to pipe the writing onto my cake, I took out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the frosting just before adding the carob powder. You can leave it white, as I did, or stir in a gel food coloring to dye it whatever color you’d like. Place the icing into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and pipe your desired décor onto the cake.

This cake should be stored in the refrigerator.

Blondies

Blondies are bar cookies very similar to brownies, but they have a light brown color since they are prepared without any cocoa powder. Blondies are really quick and easy to prepare, so they are the perfect thing to whip up if you ever find yourself in need of treats in a hurry. Traditional people-food blondies are flavored with brown sugar and chocolate chunks, but my trusty taste-testers went crazy over this dog-friendly recipe that features carob chips and a touch of peanut butter.

These blondies are made with oats, so they are fairly crumbly. I’ve found that it’s best to cut them into the smallest pieces that you possibly can for your dog. I got 36 squares out of my 8″ x 8″ baking dish, and those pieces were still kind of big for a small dog like Pacey, so he made a bit of a mess when he was eating them. If you’ve got a tiny dog, you may even want to bake this recipe in a 9″ x 9″ pan so that the blondies are thinner and more manageable. (Just remember to adjust the baking time if you’re using a larger pan.)

 

Blondies

Makes about 36 squares

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups oat flour

1 cup carob chips

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the eggs, honey, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and yogurt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder with the oat flour.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, and stir to combine.

5. Stir in the carob chips until evenly dispersed.

6. Pour the batter into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.

7. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides start pulling away from the pan, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

8. Once cool, use a sharp knife to cut the blondies into individual portions.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Bones

Dogs can enjoy many of the same berries that we humans love: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Blueberries in particular are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. They are also naturally sweet and delicious and turn these dog treats a pretty bluish-purple color.

When it comes to feeding your dog blueberries, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Too many fiber-packed berries can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea, so feed berries (and these blueberry biscuits) as a special treat, not as a daily supplement.

It’s also important to note that you should never feed your dog fruits or berries that contain pits or stones (like cherries, for example), because many pits/stones are poisonous and they also pose a major choking hazard.

 

Blueberry Bones

Makes about 30 (2 1/2-inch long) bones

 

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, thaw them first)

1 tablespoon honey

1 egg

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup oat bran

2 1/2 cups brown rice flour, plus more as needed for dusting

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place the blueberries in a food processor or blender, and process into a puree.

3. In a bowl, combine the blueberry puree with the honey, egg, and water.

4. Add the oat bran, and stir to combine.

5. Add the flour in two additions, stirring well after each addition.

6. Use your hands to press and knead the mixture together to form a smooth ball of dough.

7. Since rice flour doesn’t contain any gluten, this dough is delicate and extra care must be taken when rolling it out. You may or may not need to dust the countertop before rolling it out.

8. Divide the dough in half. (If you try rolling too much dough at once, you’ll have trouble rolling it out.) Use a rolling pin, to very gently roll the first half of the dough out into a sheet about 1/2 inch thick. If you roll the dough too thin, it will not hold together when you make the cut-outs.

9. Use your desired cookie cutter to cut the dough out into shapes. Arrange the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.

10. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

11. Bake until the biscuits are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

No-Bake Hidden Treasure Cookies

I got the idea for this recipe from a batch of “human cookies” that have a Hershey’s Kiss hidden in the center. I switched up the ingredients to make these cookies dog friendly, but they are still really tasty for humans too. The cookies are also very quick to prepare and travel really well on long walks or car trips.

If you want to be extra fancy, you can roll the treats in finely chopped peanuts (unsalted), shredded coconut, or carob powder before putting them in the refrigerator to set.

 Hidden Treasure Cookies

No-Bake Hidden Treasure Cookies

Makes about 45 treats

 

2/3 cup natural peanut butter, no salt added

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup oat bran

2 tablespoons wheat germ

Unsweetened carob chips, as needed (about 1/3 cup)

 

1. Place the peanut butter, honey, oat bran, and wheat germ in a bowl, and stir until well combined.

2. Take about 1 teaspoon of the mixture, and form it into a ball around 1 carob chip. Repeat until you’ve used all of the mixture.

3. Allow the cookies to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator. They also freeze well—you can actually serve them right out of the freezer if your dog likes chilly treats.