Monday, 22 January 2018

{RECIPE} Apple Cinnamon Puppy Love Dog Treats

These apple treats smell almost good enough to share a nibble!  When Oli was in the early stages of recovering from his cataract surgery and very blind,  highly anxious, and exercise restricted on of the few joys I could offer was to tuck him onto a soft doggy bed with the comforting anticipation of hearing me rustle around in the kitchen surrounded by good smells and knowing tasty treats were being baked especially for him. The freezer became rather full!  The plight of being dog blog taste testers (oh life is so difficult...) where posts are often prepped months ahead of going live on the blog is that tasty treats for special holidays are often months out of sync with the calendar. Not that the dogs care or complain, but it does mean that I will occasionally be sharing a photo or two of my beloved blind cone head long after the hated cone has been banished to the linen cupboard.

Apple Cinnamon Puppy Love Dog Treats

1 egg
1 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup low-sodium stock (can substitute water or other dog-safe liquid)
2 tbsp low fat milk powder (optional)
1 tbsp ground flax (optional)
1 tbsp Ceylon cinnamon (optional)
Approximately 1 + 1/4 cup rice flour (or equivalent substitute)

Variation ideas: If you'd rather make coloured hearts for Valentine's Day, this is a great neutral base for tinting with natural add-ins or dog-safe food colouring. In a chocolate mood? Swap some of the flour for carob powder.

Preheat over to 180C.  Combine egg, butter/oil, applesauce, stock/water, milk powder, flax, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Incrementally add flour, mixing into a cohesive workable dough.  The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual ingredients (especially the applesauce) and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of water, a small amount of olive oil, or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed. Rest dough (optional). Roll, cut into desired shapes, and place on a prepared baking pan. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with shape/size, so keep an eye on the oven. Cool before serving and storage.

Since I didn't have a suitable food-safe paw stamp, I created my own pitter patter puppy love pawprints on the hearts with a mini heart plunger cutter and a toothpick. 

Tips and Tricks:
  • My chicken stock is simple unseasoned broth saved from preparing homemade food. You can also buy stock, but where we live it's hard to source ready-made unsalted /low-sodium stock.  You can use water instead if you prefer - the applesauce and spices have a tempting scent/flavour on their own. Skipping the stock will make these treats LO vegetarian.
  • Adding milk powder adds extra richness as well as nutritional value, but I find it also enhances workability and creates a slightly firmer/crisper baked result. Our local grocery store sells powered milk as well as powdered goats milk and powdered coconut milk, which can be used as alternatives to dairy milk, or you can omit the powder from your dough all together.  
  • In addition to being doggone delicious and fragrant, cinnamon offers some great health benefits to dogs (and people); however, it's not suitable for everyone. Pregnant/nursing dogs in particular should not be given cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the recommended variety for dogs, if/when used. 
  • The treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.
  • Any baked treat can be left in the cooling oven for a slightly crisper texture or, if you want to get things extra crunchy without overbaking/burning, you can place the baked treats in the dehydrator (fresh from the oven or later) and dry them out.  These will be a little less like a homebaked cookie and a bit more like a crunchy biscuit.  Totally optional, of course!

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes here. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what's suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.

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