Summer Berry Bars

Right now we have an abundance of fresh, local strawberries here in Gettysburg, so for the past several weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying multiple batches of strawberry shortcake. Today I very generously decided to share some of the strawberries leftover from my shortcake-a-palooza with my dog Pacey, and the result was this recipe for berry bar cookies. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can substitute an equal amount of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or use a combination of berries.

The preparation is simple, and the treats can easily be made from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. I cut the baked treats into 1-inch by 1-inch squares to suit my little dog, but you can cut the treats into pieces of any size and/or shape using a paring knife or a small cookie cutter. To keep the finished treats from crumbling too much, it’s best to cut them into pieces immediately after removing them from the oven. Just be sure to use an oven mitt or pot-holder and be extremely careful during this step, because the pan and the treats will be very hot.

Summer Berry Bars

Summer Berry Bars

Makes about 30 (1-inch by 1-inch) bars

 

1 1/2 cups whole ripe strawberries, stems and leaves removed

1/4 cup water

1 egg

2 cups oat flour

1 cup white rice flour

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Place the strawberries and water in a bowl. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash the berries into very small pieces (a.k.a. mush).

3. Stir the egg into the mashed berries.

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

5. Slowly stir the flours into the wet ingredients, and continue stirring until well-combined. (The finished dough will be slightly wet but should hold together well and press easily into the pan.)

6. Press the dough into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper, making sure that the sheet of dough is of an even thickness.

7. Bake until firm to the touch and baked through, 18 to 20 minutes.

8. Remove the pan from the oven, and use a sharp paring knife to cut the bars into pieces.

9. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing them from the pan and serving.

 

These treats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fresh Peach Biscuits

Just in the last two weeks or so, fresh, ripe, local peaches have started popping up in our markets here in southern Pennsylvania. Like many fruits, peaches have a delicious natural sweetness that makes them perfect for baking for people and dogs alike.

You will find that peaches are sometimes listed as a no-no fruit for dogs, but that is all dependent on how they are prepared. It is true that dogs should NEVER, EVER be given a peach, or even a part of a peach, with the skin and/or pit still on it; however, the flesh of the peach is fine if it has been thoroughly cleaned of the skin and pit. Just be sure to dispose of the waste in a secure trash container that your dog is unable to get into, because peach pits pose a major choking hazard.

That said, the peach flesh makes a natural, sweet summer treat for dogs, and the fresh peach puree in this recipe definitely had our four taste-testers begging for more.

Peach Biscuits

Peach Biscuits

Makes about 18 large treats (2 1/2 in diameter)

1 medium peach

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups oat flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Take care to completely remove every bit of skin and pit from the peach. Discard the skin and pit in a secure place. Cut the peach flesh into chunks.

3. Place the peach, honey, and water in a blender, and process into a puree. Transfer the peach puree to a bowl.

4. Add the flour in two additions, stirring well after each addition to combine. Knead the mixture by hand to form a smooth dough.

5. On a clean countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into biscuits. (Since it contains no gluten, this dough is a bit more delicate when it’s rolled out. Take care when transferring the biscuits from the cutter to the baking sheet so that they don’t break.)

6. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each of the biscuits over, and return to the oven. Continue baking for an additional 6 minutes. Allow the biscuits to cool completely before serving.

These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but are best 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.