Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Z's Puppy Paws: Homemade Doggie Treats
I'll pause while you fully appreciate the cuteness going on here....
Okay. So, the secret to all this well-behaved, gratuitous adoreableness is the puppy paw cookies! We consider Zoey to be our psuedo-child and as such, we try to feed her just as well as we feed ourselves. In addition to her regular food, she enjoys a steady stream of healthy, puppy-appropriate edibles: apple pieces, baby carrots, greek yogurt, frozen peas, peanut butter, plain, baked chicken, and cooked egg whites are among her favorites.
But none of those options are very portable or shelf-stable and we love having something at the ready for a quick performance of sit/stay/down or to take along on neighborhood walks. I read pet food labels pretty closely because we try to avoid wheat products (her parents both had wheat allergies, so we just don't want to go there). Unfortunately, after reviewing the labels on most of the treats available at the pet store, I didn't like what I was reading. In addition to containing wheat, many of the treats available list ingredients like "animal parts" and other things that sound less than appealing. There are some good natural/premium treats out there but they're pricey and some of the ones we've brought home had about as much appeal for Z as a piece of cardboard.
So, after doing some research, I started making my own puppy cookies. This recipe has just seven ingredients, cost next to nothing to make and, best of all, Zoey goes absolutely bonkers for them. Seriously. Whenever I pull out my rolling pin and open the salmon can she seems to figure out whats going on. She'll then stand right next to me in the kitchen the entire time I'm kneading, rolling and decorating, waiting expectantly. Occasionally, she'll let out an almost-imperceptable, impatient little "wuf." Once they go into the oven, she shifts her attention to the oven door...standing there with her nose on the window, watching them bake (seriously....she watches them...its hilarious).
They're a rollout cookie so you can shape them any way you want. Since they're made with salmon, a fish cookie cutter might be cute (or a bone shape). But I saw a suggestion on MarthaStewart.com for cutting puppy treats out as circles, then using your thumb and pinky finger to make a "pawprint" decoration. It's so easy to do and I think they're really adorable...so thats what I do. Not that Z cares. I could shape them as rocks for all she cares...just give them to her please!
And as you can see from the pictures above, Zoey will do just about anything for one of these treats. Above, she's performing her well-mastered "shake," but now we're trying to work on "high-five." Hopefully the treats will help with this process.
Z's Puppy Paws Doggie Treats
Makes about 3 dozen 1-inch rounds
1 can salmon, undrained
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon parsley flakes (natural breathe freshener)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup water
1 egg, beaten with about 1 tsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until a smooth dough forms (about 1 minute). Then dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is nice and smooth (another minute or so).
Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness (but no thinner or the paw prints won't be deep enough to show). Cut cookies out as desired. To make the paw print decoration, use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of the cookie, then use your pinky to make for "toe" indents around the top.
Glaze each cookie with a bit of the egg mixture then place on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper. I find that the paw prints sometimes make the edges of the cookies curl in during baking so I place the cookies with the paw print decoration facing DOWN on the cookie sheet, them flip them over halfway through baking.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the treats are golden and crisp. Cool on a cookie rack then store in an airtight container. The cookies should last about a week.