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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Baking Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats

Baking Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats

Having a puppy in your home brings along with it a whole new world of fun and when it comes to caring for your little pet, many people wonder what is best when it comes to feeding them.  Generally speaking if you are able to make fresh, dog-safe foods, that is optimal but if you are like me, there is no way you can do that all the time!! Instead, I decided to settle for a high grade dog food brand. However, after seeing all the dog treat choices available out there, they all seem to be full of ingredients I have never heard of which led me to my next adventure with Luna and the pack, homemade dog treats.  
Whipping up a batch of treats for the dogs is just as fast as making a bowl of cookies for my kids! And if my kids are worth it, then certainly so are my furry companions! Let me start by saying, I am NOT a cook. I do as little in the kitchen as possible so if I am able to successfully make some tasty treats for my pet, you can too!!! 

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YEP! Expert mess right there!
After searching around for what seemed like the easiest recipes to work with, I made a sort of version of this one - Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats.  I immediately wrote down the ingredients and amounts, I am no good at remembering lol! This recipe called for pumpkin, flour, peanut butter, eggs, cinnamon and salt, so nothing strange and all things my dogs like to eat! Pumpkin is even a regulator for their digestive systems, it can help when they have the runs AND when they get backed up! 

I used a medium sized glass mixing bowl to dump everything into and it was close to full, so maybe a large one would work best. The major adjustment I made to the recipe from the site was using a full cup of pumpkin instead of half.  This may not seem like a big deal, but in terms of keeping it moist without adding water, it worked wonders. I did not have to add any water at all and the dough was just right. Also, I mixed mine up with a fork, I like using forks rather than whisks because with the whisk I spend a bunch of time trying to get the mix out of the openings and that is super annoying. Mix with whatever utensil works for you! 
Here is what my dough looked like when I dumped it onto wax paper.  Yes I put it on wax paper rather than my counter top because I don't want to spend more time cleaning than I do making the dog treats! 

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Chunky, but after hand kneading a couple minutes, is perfectly doughy!
This is the messy part, I went ahead and used my hands to knead the dough at this point and it only took a minute or two to have it all blended together.  I did add a little flour to the wax paper and to the rolling pin to keep it from being too sticky. The only tedius part of the cookie preparation time for me was the actual cookie cutting! Again, I am not a cook, nor a pet food cook, so I don't have those adorable mini dog biscuit cookie cutters laying around, instead I improvised with a frosting tip that was just the right size for a bite sized treat. *Helpful note* If you dip the cutter in flour as you go along, it won't stick to the dough which makes it much faster.

I did have an audience for my whole pumpkin, peanut butter treat baking adventure too, because if I am in the kitchen CLEARLY something delightful is going on! Luna just sat there patiently until she got bored, and then laid down right where I could trip over her non-stop haha! 

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Com'on Mom, just a nibble!
Because the recipe had eggs in it, they did not get to try the biscuits until they were finished though. They were such good dogs, they definitely got to have one while they were still warm! When baking the treats, I only cooked them for about 15 minutes and then let them cool while I made another batch....I like to double up so I have some extras in the freezer.  After all of them were cooked, I left them in the oven with it partially cracked to cool and dry for a long time, 5+ hours. The drier you can get the treat, the longer it will last! Once they were completely cooled, I put some in freezer bags to enjoy later and some in paper bags to enjoy now.  Generally the ones I put out right away are eaten up within a week, and the ones I freeze can last up to 8 months no problem. 

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Lots of treats!!
A single batch does make quite a few to keep your little husky pup happy! I use parchment paper to cook on, again, makes cleaning up afterwards much faster. Also I made the cookies with all purpose flour, but wheat flour is even healthier and they enjoy them just as much. They are even safe for people to try out, although my kids were NOT impressed since they don't taste like REAL cookies.

Here is the recipe that I used, feel free to try it out for your own puppy!

Baking Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats

2 1/2 cups all purpose (or whole wheat) flour
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2.) Mix all ingredients together until moist. Lay out on countertop and knead until dough like consistency. 
3.) Roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter of choice. 
4.) Lay flat on pan lined with parchment paper.
5.) Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges start browning.  For more even cooking consistency you can flip them over half way through.
6.) Cool completely. You can also dry them out more effectively by placing in the oven after turning it off and leaving it cracked for several hours.
7.) Enjoy watching your pup gobble them all up!

*Important Note* Be sure to check the ingredients of your peanut butter as some does contain xylitol which is NOT good for dogs!!! Organic peanut butter is always best! :)

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