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
-I Woof U
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.
Although dogs aren’t able to eat the chocolate candies that we humans so appreciate receiving for Valentine’s Day, these little carob cookies make a sweet substitute. I can pretty much guarantee that your dog will love the rich carob flavor, and you can enjoy the cookies right along with your dog if you want to!
The recipe is so simple that you can have these cookies mixed, cut out, and baked in less than half an hour—perfect for those times that you find yourself needing to whip something up at the last minute.
Makes about 25 2-inch cookies
1/2 cup carob powder
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more if needed for dusting
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Combine the carob powder and flour.
3. Add the honey and water, and stir to combine. Knead by hand until a smooth dough forms.
4. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick, lightly flouring the countertop and/or rolling pin if needed. Cut the dough into pieces using your desired cookie cutter, and arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake until the treats are firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
These treats may be stored at room temperature, but if it’s particularly hot or humid where you live, it’s better to keep them in the refrigerator.
This was my first time experimenting with freeze-dried beef liver, and I would say it was a great success. I found it at my local pet store labeled as “PureBites Freeze Dried Beef Liver Dog Treats.” If you’re unsure about what you’re getting, just check the label on the package. The only ingredient listed should be “liver,” with no additives or preservatives.
The freeze-drying process preserves the flavor and nutritional value of raw beef liver. It also preserves the odor. Our dogs were going crazy over the liver-y aroma wafting through the kitchen as I was preparing these treats, but I personally found the odor, to be blunt, disgusting. It was very stinky business grinding the freeze-dried liver pieces into powder (and I immediately washed out my food processor extremely well afterwards). But I’ve decided that my momentary revulsion was worth it, because all the dogs LOVED these treats. Each dog very enthusiastically gobbled up a treat as soon as they were cool, and even my pickiest taste-tester begged for seconds.
The tomato paste turns this dough a reddish color, so I decided to cut the treats out using a heart-shaped cookie cutter appropriate for the season. Wrapped up in pretty packaging, these biscuits would make great valentines for your furry friends.
Dried Liver Biscuits
Makes about 42 treats
Freeze-dried liver pieces, as needed (about 1 cup)
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup no salt added tomato paste
1 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using a food processor or blender, process the freeze-dried liver pieces into a fine powder. Measure out 1/2 cup of liver powder. Reserve the rest for later use.
3. Combine the 1/2 cup liver powder with the flour.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the tomato paste and water.
5. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and knead by hand until a smooth dough forms.
6. Generously dust the countertop with flour, and roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into pieces using your desired cookie cutter.
7. Arrange the treats on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until the treats are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
These treats are best stored in the refrigerator.