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.
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.
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.
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.