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Monday, December 14, 2009

What do you get for the puppies who have everything?

My parents have two puppies. They figured that two puppies would be easier than one puppy. And it's not hard to see why they were able to convince themselves of that.

See? Incredible cuteness, right?

Except now, they're not really puppies anymore - at a little over a year old, each one weighs about 75 pounds, but they still think they're puppies. And want to, you know, crawl all over you and lick your face. Sort of endearing, sort of terrifying.

They also have a pretty sweet life. My parents explicitly think of them as their second set of children. They get baths and car rides and new down comforters to lay on. And, of course, they love treats.

So what do I get my furry sisters for Christmas?

I make them homemade squirrel-shaped dog treats, of course.

I sent them to my parents along with cookies for, you know, people. My mom thought the dog treats were the best part of the package. (No, I don't think she ate them.)

What better way to prove that you're definitely not jealous that your parents' new daughters have graduated from sleeping on your favorite childhood blanket to new fleeces and down comforters?

I hear they give them two paws up.

Apple Pie Dog Biscuits
Adapted from Culinary in the Desert

I took out the applesauce because I specifically wanted a dry cracker-like treat that would travel well and wouldn't need to be refrigerated. These are very dry, but the dogs don't seem to mind. If your pup has a more refined palate, feel free to add the applesauce back in for a less brittle treat.

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 small apples, food processed until chopped
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornmeal, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.

In a small bowl, whisk together shredded apple, water and oil. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until a dough forms. Scoop out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding as much additional whole wheat flour as needed, to make a dough that is smooth and not sticky. (I needed a lot - probably another cup or cup and a half. At some point I switched to white flour because I figured that too much whole wheat flour might be intense, even for dogs.)

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4" thick. Cut out as many treats as you can, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until firm, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove and transfer the treats to a wire rack to cool completely.

I'm a terrible estimator, but I think these made about 4-dozen squirrel-shaped cookies.

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