Monday, August 27, 2012

How the cookie crumbles

Collies love cookies.  But then, all dogs love cookies, and to be honest, so do their human companions.  The problem is that most of the mass produced dog cookies are currently being made with some pretty unhealthy ingredients.  In recent studies, it has been found that the same chemicals used to manufacture embalming fluid, jet fuel, pesticides and disinfectants are in our dog's cookies!  Also, found in many dog foods and cookies is Ethoxyquin, which is so toxic that it is prohibited from human consumption.  And it has been discovered that Pentobarbital, the drug used for euthanasia, is in our pet’s food.  I'm sure you are wondering, how did that get in there?  The companies mass producing these foods and cookies are buying their meat from slaughterhouses and from animal shelters.  The research is out there, for anyone who wants to investigate just what is in the cookies they are feeding their beloved dogs, and why as a result, cancer is on the rise in our pets.  This is just one article written on the subject:

I was shocked to see that Milk Bones and Pup-peroni, which my dogs love, are on the list of dangerous dog treats.  And you may have heard that many dog treats are made in China, and are actually killing our dogs!  Add to that all the recalls on pet food and treats, and choosing a brand of dog cookies for your best friend becomes pretty frightening. 

I decided that there is only one solution.  I’m going to begin making my own dog cookies for my collies.  Each week, I thought I would share some of the recipes I have found, in case anyone else would like to try making them for their own dogs.  If you do try making any of these cookies, please come back and let us know what your dog's thought of them!

Sell-Their-Soul Liver Cookies

 1 lb. raw liver--chopped into smaller chunks
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (white, unbleached, or whole wheat)
1/4-1/2 cup water
1tbs. garlic powder
1-2 eggs (this will make a more cake-like texture)


Line a jellyroll pan (big cooking sheet with small sides) with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam.

Using either a blender or a food processor, add liver and blend until liquefied. Then add remaining ingredients, moist ones first, blending as you add. The entire mixture should be the consistency of cement although if you add eggs, it will be thinner. Spoon mixture out into pan and spread as evenly as you can.

Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 deg. Is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Test several places because the mixture is so thick, it's hard to spread evenly.

Remove from oven and cut in small squares. Cool and peel foil off the back. Separate pieces and put in freezer on a cookie sheet until hard. Then freeze. These will keep for several days in a cooler or even in a very cool room or show site.  Thaws in the microwave in just a few seconds.

Homemade Dog Biscuits with Peanut Butter & Bacon

•1/8 cup bacon grease
•2 cups whole wheat flour
•1/4 cup ground flax
•1/4 cup wheat bran
•2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 cup natural peanut butter
•1 egg, lightly beaten
•3/4 cup water


1.Preheat oven to 325° F
2.Cook bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.
3.Pour the bacon grease into a glass measuring cup.
4.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax, wheat bran, and baking powder.
5.Crumble the bacon, once cooled, and stir into the flour mixture.
6.In a microwave safe bowl, warm the peanut butter. Approximately 30 seconds.
7.In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then pour in the peanut butter, water, and bacon grease. Use a fork to whisk together the wet ingredients until completely combined.
8.Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the peanut butter mixture.
9.Stir until combined.
10.Knead lightly in the bowl with your hands.
11.Lay down one large sheet of parchment paper, roll your dough onto it, then lay another piece of parchment on top. You'll essentially have a dog treat dough sandwich. See the video for tips.
12.Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.
13.Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
14.Cut shapes out of the dough and place on your prepared baking sheet. Gather the extra dough, knead into a ball, and repeat the process of rolling and cutting until there is no more dough.
15.Bake for 15 minutes.
16.Turn off the oven and leave them there to cool for 2 hours or overnight.

Storing - These homemade dog biscuits will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Yield - Using a 3 inch bone shaped cookie cutter, you will get 18 homemade dog biscuits.
Tips & Techniques
•Ground Flax - Flax has so many wonderful health benefits. Learn more about using flax in your homemade dog treats, with our Cheesy Flax Squares recipe.
•Choosing Cookie Cutters - Because this recipe uses baking powder, these peanut butter dog biscuits will puff up some during the baking process. Because of that, you will want to choose a dog cookie cutter that has simple shapes. The puffed cookie will not show the same amount of detail as another dog treat recipe.
•Crumble Bacon - After the bacon is cooked and cooled, it's time to crumble. Instead of doing this by hand, one tiny piece at a time, break your bacon into large pieces and place in a plastic zip-lock bag. Then easily break and crumble the bacon inside the bag with your hands. This saves time and greasy fingers! :)
•Bacon Grease - Pour the grease into a glass measuring cup, as opposed to a plastic one, because it will be very hot. You can make these homemade dog biscuits even more special by using the entire amount of bacon grease, instead of just 1/8 of a cup. If you choose to do this, do not add the full amount of water. Depending on how much extra grease you have, add the water 1/4 cup at a time. Continue adding water, up to 3/4 of a cup if needed, to make the dough combine.
•Choice of Bacon - If your dog loves bacon, but needs to keep his homemade dog biscuits on the healthier side, you can use turkey or low-sodium bacon for this recipe.
•Peanut Butter - Once you have warmed the peanut butter, try to work quickly adding the other wet ingredients. The reason is that the peanut butter will start to harden, and it's much easier to combine everything while it is still quite warm.

Classic Thumbprint Peanut Butter Dog Treats

•2 cups whole wheat flour
•1/2 cup rolled oats
•2 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
•1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium
•1/2 cup water
•1/2 cup strawberry jam, sugar free

1.Preheat oven to 325° F
2.Whisk together the flour, oats and cinnamon.
3.Place the peanut butter, chicken broth and water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 15 seconds. Stir together the warm peanut butter and liquids. If needed, microwave again for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir again until all of the liquid is incorporated into the peanut butter.
4.Make a well in the dry ingredients.
5.Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir, using a fork, until a dough forms.
6.Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
7.Using a tablespoon sized cookie scooper, scoop out rounded balls onto the prepared baking sheet.
8.Create an indentation, and flatten each cookie.
9.Bake for 15 minutes. Leave the peanut butter dog treats in the oven, once it's turned off, to cool.
10.Once the dog treats are completely cooled, place the jam in a microwave safe container.
11.Microwave for 10 seconds. Then stir the jam. If needed, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir. You want a smooth liquid consistency.
12.Using a 1/2 teaspoon, gently spoon the jam into each cookies indentation.
13.Let the jam cool completely before moving the dog treats.

Storing - These peanut butter dog treats are delicate with the addition of the jam. First, they need to be stored in a single layer as the jam does not harden completely. Once in a air tight container, like a freezer bag, they can be kept in the refrigerator for one week. Store them in the freezer for up to four months. These gourmet dog treats will keep fresh longer without the jam middle. You can bake the cookies, not adding the jam, and keep them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months. Then before you serve, follow the last four steps of this recipe.

Yield - Using a tablespoon sized cookie scooper, this recipe will make 30 dog cookies.

Tips & Techniques
•Jam or Jelly - This dog treat recipe will work best if you use a jam with little or no fruit pieces. You can use any flavor of fruit jam, but make sure that it is sugar free. Our dogs do not need all that excess sugar in their treats. The jam will set rather quickly once it is poured into the cookie. Depending on how quickly you are able to work, you may need to reheat the jam to a liquid consistency to be able to pour it into the cookie with ease.
•Artificial Sweeteners - Using sugar free products can seem perfectly harmless, yet there are ingredients to learn about. Our dogs should never ingest the artificial sweetener called Xylitol. This is most commonly found in sugar free gum and candy. However, do a double check of your sugar free jam, to ensure it does not contain this ingredient. The sugar free jam I used for this dog treat recipe contained polydextrose, maltodextrin and sucralose. These have not been found to be harmful to our dogs.
•Homemade Fruit Jam - If you are still concerned about artificial sweeteners, by all means, you should make your own homemade sugar free fruit jam. Look for recipes that use a "no sugar needed" fruit pectin for the binding and thickening agent. Some of these recipes also contain honey, but since honey is a natural sugar, and will eventually be a very small amount of the end jam product, it would be an acceptable ingredient. When choosing a recipe for homemade jam, be aware that some use white grape juice. Again, although tasty to us, grapes are on the list of foods poisonous to dogs, so you would want to substitute apple juice instead.
•Microwaves - All microwaves are different, and some have more power than others. The microwave directions in this dog treat recipe are a starting point. You may need to use less or more time, depending on your appliance.
•Peanut Butter - We used creamy peanut butter for this recipe. You might be able to use chunky peanut butter, but due to the texture of the cookie, and the need to make an indentation and flatten the cookie, we highly recommend the creamy variety.
•Broth & Water - To make these peanut butter dog treats even healthier, you could substitute the chicken broth for water. You would add a total of one cup of water, instead of half water and half broth. Or, you could use all chicken broth, or switch it up and use half and half chicken broth and beef broth. Whether you use all broth or not, look for the low sodium variety to keep these treats extra healthy for your dog.

Since so many dogs love the taste of peanut butter, you are sure to find a keeper in these peanut butter dog treats. They are also a great treat to make as gifts. Your dogs friends and their parents will think that you're a dog treat baking whiz with these delightful little gems wrapped in peanut butter.


  1. We'll have to check the recipies out. We might just have to add the recipies to our beloved cheddar collies.

    Essex & Sherman

  2. OMD, I'm drooling right lost me at Bacon and Peanut Butter!!!!! I have to save this list for Domeek and beg her to make them for me! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! :-) (Oh and thanks for the bad list too...icky)

    1. Ooops, forgot to say that I had a problem with your link! And I also shared on Facebook. Bad Treats!

  3. Wow! Thanks for the terrific recipes! :)

  4. Woof! Woof! TASTY! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    FYI: I co-host a Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop. You can add this post this coming Tuesday. And hope you join us. Check out my Tuesday post and/pr my Dog Treat recipe page for more information. Golden Woofs, Sugar