Thursday, 8 December 2016

Healthy Christmas Dog Biscuits


The big event is almost here (as I am sure you know and do not need to be told by me!). Honestly, it is like planning a wedding every year. all that prep and deciding who sits where and which present will be the best for whom and all that. Then a large meal and it is all over. Just like a wedding.



Well in my house, the dogs are important and must have a share in the festivities too. They have stockings around the fireplace and there is dog appropriate food too. I am sure that I am not the only person in the world doing this so I thought that you might like to share one of my dogs' favourite treats - Christmas star dog biscuits!



They are easy to make and they only use a few ingredients. The dogs love them as a treat - I use that word quite deliberately. They are a treat food for your dog, just as biscuits are for us. I tend to give them to mine, one each before they clean their teeth for bed at night. They really look forward to it and won't let me go to bed without them. There is no help for me if we run out either!

I have just made a plate of these for Daisy's school Christmas breakup party this week. All of the other members have made human food. The dogs cannot go without!

Okay, here we go....



These are things that most of us have in the fridge or freezer or can get quite easily. Spelt flour is an ancient grain but that is not actually the reason that I use it. I like it because it is a little chewy and not so processed as white. If you cannot find it, any other interesting flour will make nice biscuits too- but remember that if you use something like rye flour, it is actually better to mix it half and half with something lighter.

By the way, it is worth mentioning that if your dog is lactose intolerant or you are not sure, back off on the cheese and likewise, if there is a problem down the business end, the oil could be a problem too. Add less flour and try another egg in that case to help it bind.

As you can see, there is no salt and naturally no sugar. NEVER give sugar to a dog or anything with sugar in it and there is enough salt in the other ingredients - additives mostly please us, not the dog! They will love the biscuits without additives and colourings.



Get yourself a big bowl - this recipe yields 100 plus biscuits. You will need a rolling pin and a cute biscuit cutter too. These cookies freeze well when cooked and I put them in in zip lock bags and then get a few out at a time for my girls. They will go mouldy if left out because there are no preservatives. Freezing does the trick though. They last for ages.

I have used a star cutter because it is Christmas but you can use any one and don't forget to use a smaller cutter if you have a wee doggy.

Begin by adding the grated cheese to your bowl



Next comes the spinach...



Grate some carrot



and then put that in too



the eggs and the oil next...



Time to get in there with your hands now - honestly, it is the best way and very therapeutic...add about three cups of flour



Mix well to combine the ingredients. After a bit of this, turn the dough out onto a floured surface...



Keep kneading and adding flour until you have a dough which can be easily rolled out.
A word about flour is important at this point. Because of seasonal things like more moisture in the carrots and spinach and what a 'medium' egg means, the flour needs are vague and you will possibly have some left over. 

The trick is to begin with a few cups and then add more until the dough stops being sticky and it easy to roll. Dust the surface with some flour and it doesn't matter if the dough has some on it when it goes into the oven. It looks more artisan that way!
Here is what the dough looks like when it is ready to roll...



Roll it out so that it is about 1/2 cm (1/4") thick



Then get busy with the cutter!



I like to prepare a couple of baking trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to moderate. These biscuits will not spread so you can really load the trays.



Keep cutting while they are baking too so that you are ready to go again



Bake in a moderate oven until they are brown. Turn them once during baking so that they crisp evenly.



TIP: you can see that mine are a bit piled up on that tray? Once they have been in the oven a while and are a bit dried (so that they do not stick to one another anymore), you can pile them up for the rest of the baking. Not too much of course but this does speed up the process and you can get on with the rest of them.

When they are browned and firm (they will harden slightly on cooling), put them out onto a wire rack to cool away from probing noses...



By the way, if children and husbands steal them, they will not come to any harm - there is nothing inside that humans cannot eat too!



Put some in the fridge in a nice tin for a bed time treat and the rest into the freezer. As I said before, the yield is high but it will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and also the thickness when you roll them out. I got 125 when I used a medium star.

Well that's it! Merry, Christmas doggies and enjoy these treats well into the new year!

Thank you so much for stopping by
love and hugs
Debs
xxx