Monday, November 5, 2007

Peanut Butter Dog Cookies

Some of you, or perhaps many of you, will remember the pet food scare the US experienced over the summer. The Science Diet and Evo foods that we give our pup Argos never appeared on the recall list, for which we were grateful and relieved. Even though our household was lucky enough to make it through the summer without incident, since then we've been extra careful about everything we give him.

I've made special-occasion meals for Argos before*, but for some reason, I'd never made everyday treats for him until last Sunday evening. We'd run out of his usual Science Diet biscuits without realizing it, and neither of us had the energy to run out for more. We had a jar of peanut butter in the pantry, which is odd, because L and I generally loathe peanut butter (our friend I's peanut butter cookies being the delicious exception). In any case, I realised that homemade dog treats would be a good way to simultaneously please us by using up the peanut butter, and thrill Argos by giving it all to him!

I found a few recipes online, but didn't love the sound of anything in particular, so I experimented with a few different recipes until I hit on a combination that satisfied all three of us. Yep, for the sake of learning something about experimental baking, L and I suffered through enough peanut butter to taste each batch between tweakings! Since our dog will eat, literally, just about anything- large chunks of wasabi and ice cubes included- I wanted to be sure that we turned out something more than a dry, faintly-flavoured cracker.

If you can turn on your oven, you can make these. I'm not always great with doughs that require a rolling pin, though for the first time in my life I seem to be improving on that front, which is why I haven't yet gotten around to buying cookie cutters. However, if I can make these, so can you. I used a small cordial glass to cut these out, and it worked beautifully; if you have a larger dog, you can certainly use a bigger glass or cookie cutter.

L's mom makes dog biscuits for Argos all the time, and he absolutely loves them. I don't know why we didn't try this earlier- they're very easy to make, surprisingly economical, dogs love peanut butter, and it's comforting that I can control exactly what goes into the pup's treats. These cookies have a fairly moist crumb, too, so if you have a small dog, you can easily break them apart for training purposes.

Argos' Peanut Butter Cookies
makes appx. 150 (1-inch) treats

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup natural
chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup skim milk or chicken broth

1 large egg, beaten well (for egg wash)

Preheat your oven to 375'F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer or large bowl, beat two eggs and peanut butter until well mixed. Add milk or broth and beat for 30 seconds.

In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. With mixer running or while stirring, add flour and baking powder mixture to wet ingredients in 1/2 cup increments until well incorporated.

On floured surface, turn out the dough. Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut out using cookie cutters or a sturdy drinking glass.
Place on baking sheets and brush with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on racks to cool, then store in airtight containers.

These can spoil quickly, so it's a good idea to keep most of them in the freezer, taking out handfuls (or bowlfuls) to thaw as you need them.

* Since proper dog nutrition is a tricky business, I would not recommend switching your dog to a fully-homemade diet until you've consulted a canine nutritionist and/or other trusted sources.

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