Wednesday, July 10, 2013

George Michael Eats: Peanut & Cheese Treats

Who the frak is George Michael? He's my dog and I love him. This is my first dog-related food post because though my dog gets lots of table scraps (like leftover meat or pasta), I've rarely cooked anything specifically for him. However, a few weeks ago, I wanted to do something kind of special for my pup. He was getting his hair cut and that's not something he enjoys too much so I decided to give him a treat and bake some dog biscuits.

Ingredients:
1½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup extra chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons applesauce (natural & unsweetened)
1 egg
¼ cup low fat milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (low sodium)

These are all ingredients that are healthy for dogs (or at least not horrible for them). Like humans, whole wheat is better than regular white flour. Coconut oil is great for dogs' fur (shiny!) and helps to prevent dry and flaky skin. Eggs provide protein. Apples are also great for dogs (lots of vitamin B and C) but I like to avoid giving my dog apple skins because of possible pesticide/preservatives that are used to keep apples fresher. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, but only in moderation, since most processed PBs have lots of sugar and salt. Milk and cheese provide your dog with calcium, but try and opt for low-fat milks and low-sodium cheeses.
Start by placing the peanut butter and coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave it for a few seconds (I put it in for 30 seconds on high) until both the oil and peanut butter melt into a nice liquid consistency that's easy to mix. Then mix in some apple sauce to help cool it down a bit before cracking in an egg. Stir again and then pour in the milk and mix everything together.

Next, add in the dry ingredients. Dump in the baking powder and whole wheat flour and then stir together until a stiff batter forms.
The last step to assembling the batter is to mix in the cheese.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick.
And then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the treats. I used a heart shape but if you have something more dog-related like bones or paw prints, use that. And if you don't have any cookie cutters, just use a knife to cut the dough into squares or triangles.
Place the cookies onto a lined sheet pan.
Bake the treats at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
Place the treats on a cooling rack.
Yummy looking, right? My sister actually taste-tested these and said they tasted exactly like you'd expect: peanutty and cheesy, which isn't the most delicious combination for humans but great for pups. Why didn't I taste them? I couldn't eat them because I'm allergic to peanuts.
Once the treats had cooled, it was time to let George Michael have a taste. He was pretty excited; that tongue says it all, doesn't it?
I asked him to give me his paw in order to earn the treat. He nearly broke off my pinky.
I was being a tease. "C'mon, already!"
And then he finally got to chow down. I could tell he really loved these because he started clawing at the counter where the rest of the batches were cooling.
And then he washed it down with some water.
Completely cooled treats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These will keep for about a month in the fridge, three months in the freezer. If you leave them at room temperature, they'll only last a week or two before they start to get a little moldy, especially in the humidity of summer. I feel good about giving GM these treats, knowing exactly what's in them. Sure, store bought treats are more convenient but, if you have the time, this is a nice thing to do for your dog.
Here's the recipe page:

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