Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Maggie Biscuits

Our dog, Maggie, is most definitely Food Motivated. She likes her tennis balls, and ropes for tug-of-war. She even likes her Couch Time. But nothing, absolutely nothing, focuses her like food. I suppose I can't blame her!

One day, while browsing our local library for some good reads I came across K-9 Nation Biscuit Book: Baking for Your Best Friend, by Klecko. (Here is a link to the book at Amazon.com.) I immediately picked it up. It fit right in with my new desire to avoid packaged, processed foods and all the preservatives that come with them. Why not bake for our dog, too? We want her to be healthy and live a long happy life.

As books go, I enjoyed the personal stories that prefaced each recipe. As recipes go, I only tried two recipes in the book, mainly because I had all the ingredients on hand, except for one ingredient in each, and they were ingredients I would always have on hand. The first on I tried was called "Auggie's Doggie Biscuits", and consisted of all-purpose flour, tuna, milk and water. The original recipe calls for chervil (a member of the parsley family) which I do not have on hand. So, it was omitted. Maggie liked those very much. The second I tried was "Meatball's PBJ Biscuits", and has whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cracked wheat, water, olive oil, and of course, peanut butter and jelly. The original recipe also has orange flower water as an optional ingredient. I left that out. I also left out the cracked wheat since I don't usually have that either. These PBJ Biscuits were a big hit with Maggie.

These biscuits are easy to make and last a long time -- provided they store well and don't get moldy! I have had two batches go moldy on me, so I put half of the baked biscuits in the freezer now. That will be a nice cooling treat in the summer here for Maggie! Iced biscuits!

The latest batch of biscuits I made was the PBJ biscuits, but I altered a lot, and they still turned out great for Maggie. She loves them still, even with the changes.

Maggie knows when I am baking them, too, and will follow me around the kitchen. When I return to the kitchen to turn the baking sheet around (for even baking in my old oven), she will follow me and sit behind me, waiting. When I take the biscuits out of the oven to cool, she jumps for pure joy and excitement, I'm sure. Maggie is such a smart dog, she has come to know my kitchen timer bell means I am headed to the kitchen, the Land of Yummy Things!

Here is the recipe for the last batch I made for Maggie, with all my changes.
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. strawberry preserves

Put flour in a large mixing bowl. Fill a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl with water and add oil. Stir together to combine as well as water and oil can mix!

Add to the flour and stir to combine. Before it is mixed really well and becomes dough, add the peanut butter and preserves. Mix well until dough is pliable.

Place the dough on a floured surface and press out to about 1/2 inch thick. I just use my hands, but you cna use a roller if you'd like. Also, I try to make my dough rectangular to make the pieces even.

Cut the dough using a pizza cutter or long serrated knife into cubes that will fit your dog's jaw comfortably.

Place the biscuit pieces on a non-stick baking sheet.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. One note here: Klecko says you can't really overbake these biscuits, and I think he's right. I've had a few at the edges of my baking sheet get slightly burned and Maggie still loves them. They have a little extra crunch!

Let cool completely (24 hours is recommended) before storing. Like I said before, I freeze half the baked biscuits after they have cooled for 24 hours. The remaining half I leave on the counter in a tupperware.

I would highly recommend Klecko's book if you have dogs. It is easy and fun to bake these biscuits, and the stories are interesting, funny and sweet.

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