Friday, December 24, 2010

Make Your Own Dog Biscuits; Buckwheat Bunnies and Bones

The first magazine recipe article I wrote for publication was "How to Make Healthy Dog Biscuits." Complete with pictures, recipes, and tips, it appeared in 1997 in Natural Pet. Though the magazine has long been out of publication, I never stopped making making biscuits. In fact, I liked creating new versions so much that I spent way too much time doing it. I had so many recipes that I added a dog biscuit chapter to my first cookbook.

Dog biscuits are way easy to make. I started by removing sugar and all sweet things from basic cookie recipes I liked. Then I substituted whole grain flours and added mashed squash or applesauce to recipes. This year I even made a special bacon-cheese flavor for canine friends, Libby, Wiley and Blue at Cascade Harvest Coalition.

For this recipe I used a Washington buckwheatflour and a pumpkin from Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, Oregon. I found the buckwheat flour when I visited the Portland Farmers' Market this past season, so I stuck it in the freezer for pancakes and for these dog biscuits that also pass as tasty crackers.

Buckwheat Bunnies
(Makes about 76 biscuits)
Get bunny and dog bone cookie cutters at any cooking store. The beauty of this recipe is you can make the dough up to a week before you roll out the biscuits.

4 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup tapioca flour, or arrowroot
1 teaspoon kelp
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups baked, mashed winter squash or pumpkin
3/4 cup peanut butter, tahini, or hazelnut butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups stock or water

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place squash or pumpkin, peanut butter, molasses and stock in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir liquid into the flour ingredients until a very thick dough forms. If necessary, add more water but be careful. Don't add too much or you'll have to knead in more flour. When a stiff dough forms, shape it into a ball. Work with the dough immediately or refrigerate it for up to a week.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. (If you don't have any parchment paper, oil the sheets before placing the biscuits on them.)

3. The dough should be very cold when you start to work with it. Divide the dough in half, place one half on a floured board and the other in the refrigerator. Pat the dough down; roll out from the middle. Roll to about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Cut with cookie cutters and place as many as you can on a baking sheet. It doesn't matter if they are touching.

5. Bake for 40 minutes. Biscuits should be fairly hard when done. For a very crisp texture, turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in overnight.

Bake some healthy treats for your canine friends this season. Happy Holidays!

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