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.
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.
With their delicious natural sweetness, apples make a great flavoring ingredient for dog treats. Whenever you’re baking it’s very important to choose a crisp apple with flesh that won’t break down into mush in the oven. The classic choice for baking is Granny Smith, which I used when I developed this recipe, but there are plenty of other varieties of apple that hold up equally well in the oven. You may want to branch out and try a Jonathon, Jonagold, Braeburn, Fuji, or Cortland apple, for example.
All of the ingredients in this recipe are readily available at most grocery stores. If you can’t find wheat germ in the baking aisle, it may be hiding in the organic or health food section. Although wheat germ is generally accepted as a safe ingredient and is perfectly harmless to most pets, some dogs can develop sensitivities to wheat (i.e. gastrointestinal issues). If this is the case with your pooch, you can omit the wheat germ and whole wheat flour in this recipe and substitute 2 cups of all-purpose or unbleached white flour instead.
For easy clean up and, of course, for the cuteness factor, I used decorative paper muffin cups to line the pan, but they’re not really necessary. Just remember to spray the pan generously with cooking spray if you’re not using the liners, because this batter tends to stick to the pan. And hopefully this goes without saying, but . . . if you use the paper liners, remember to remove them before serving to your dog.
These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.
Apple Mini Muffins
Makes about 42 muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 of a granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and small diced (about 1/3 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
3. Add the egg, honey, water, applesauce, and diced apple. Stir to combine.
4. Prepare the mini muffin pan by lining with paper muffin cups or spraying lightly with cooking spray.
5. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way up.
6. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back when touched, about 9 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool completely before serving.
NOTE: To make standard size muffins, prepare as above but increase the baking time to about 20 minutes.