This is it. The holidays. We’re already looking forward to decorations and music and the best of homemade goodies. But it’s early enough to make some of those goodies for the family pets, often forgotten in the busyness of preparations.
Here are four recipes, the first strictly for dogs, and the other three for cats, too. Easy to make, the treats can be a family project and will be a special treat for four-footed friends. Made with healthy ingredients and preservative free, you can pack them in attractive jars or tin containers for a unique and thoughtful gift to someone with a pet.
PEANUT BUTTER HONEYS
3/4 C flour
2 tsp peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/4 C vegetable shortening
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 C quick oats or rolled oats
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350. Place honey and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave about 20 seconds on high, or until soft. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Place baking parchment or tinfoil (shiny side down) on baking sheet. Drop mixed dough by small half-teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Makes about 2-3 dozen small cookies.
Note: To make larger cookies, drop dough by whole teaspoonful and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until cookies are only slightly soft in center (or test with a cake tester and remove when tester comes out dry.)
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C melted bacon fat
1/2 C cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except water, in a medium bowl and stir to combine loosely. Add water and mix by hand until dough forms. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Add more bacon fat or water if the dough is too stiff.
Roll out onto a floured surface, to a thickness of just under 1/2″. Cut into 1×4″ bars and transfer to a cookie sheet. Poke medium holes into the bars (Use end of a dinner knife or a chopstick) and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes (until lightly browned). Turn the oven off, flip the bars, and place back in the oven until cool (this will further crisp them). Makes 24 bars. Make smaller bars for small or toy dogs by cutting rolled dough into 1X2″ size. Reduce baking time to 10-15 minutes.
Treats can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.
TIP: You can vary this recipe by exchanging the bacon fat with any meat-based fat, such as chicken or sausage fat. It’s OK to have small pieces of the meat with the fat – adds flavor.
CHICKEN LITTLE BALLS
for cats, from DIYnetwork.com
1 lb. finely chopped cooked chicken livers
3/4 C all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 C chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients, making sure chicken liver is well-coated with rest of dough. The dough should be stiff; add a little more chicken broth if too stiff or dry.
Form the dough into pea- to marble-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. With the tip of a spoon, press a tiny indentation into the top of each ball. With a spoon, carefully drip a few drops of chicken broth in each indentation.
Bake the treats for 8 to 10 minutes or until the bottoms of the treats are golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool thoroughly. Makes 2 dozen and up balls, depending on size. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Note: Also a doggie treat – but not in the smaller size balls. Dogs may choke if food is small enough it is not chewed.
1 ½ C cooked chicken, shredded
1 C whole wheat flour
½ C chicken broth
1/3 C cornmeal
1 Tbls. softened margarine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the chicken, broth and margarine, and then add the cornmeal and flour. If too wet, add more flour. Knead the dough into a ball and roll it out to ¼ inch. Cut into one-inch by 1 inch pieces and bake for 20 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cool and store in fridge in covered container. Makes about 2 -3 dozen.
Note: Dogs like this cookie, too. Do not change for small dogs, but for medium to large dogs, cut rolled dough to larger size, i.e., 3-4 inches.
Tip: For a faster recipe, substitute 1 cup canned cat food, drained, for shredded chicken. Use drained juice to replace chicken broth. However, canned cat food is not recommended for dogs.