Paw Print Dog Biscuits

Last Updated on March 25, 2012 by smartkitchenpicks

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I grew up in the 90′s, arguably one of the last century’s more sartorially challenged decades, so naturally I was once the proud owner of more than a few pairs of overalls *shudder*. Black velvet (never mind my velvet phobia), indigo denim with Tweety Bird embroidery, an assortment of shortalls (overall shorts); it’s safe to say that these were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the overalls lurking in my closet circa 5th grade.

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I don’t fancy myself as particularly glamorous; more often than not I can be found lounging in a pair of brightly colored running shorts and a sweatshirt. But I like to think that I at least possess some semblance of style when I decide to venture out into the world in something a bit more polished than what I affectionately refer to as my “shmoo-wear” (loungewear, for those who don’t speak Nicole). So it still pains me a bit to think back on those dark days.

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That being said, I can get behind that devilish pants/suspender hybrid on one group, and one group only: toddlers. Let’s be real, toddlers and their diminutive outfits are so inherently cute that they can practically get away with murder, and overalls for that age-set are just so functional that I’ll let it slide. At least that’s my justification for my affection towards a certain pair that lurked in my closet years past their practical use. Size tiny, pale blue denim, with a trail of DIY silver puff paint paw prints running up the leg, I still can conjure up a clear mental image many years later.

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The DIY puff paint paw prints came courtesy of my mom; a life-long animal fanatic, she went through a phase where her signature was nearly always accompanied by a doodled paw print, so naturally I was lovingly branded throughout my early childhood with this motif. So it’s little surprise that my eye always lingers a bit longer on anything paw-print themed, and these darling dog biscuits (cookie-treats) were no exception. And let me tell you, my faithful taste-tester* wholeheartedly approved.

*Sadly, Pepper is not my dog (though I’m frequently tempted to puppynap her), I merely borrowed her and her furry friends Sprinkles and Chester while Andrew’s mom was out of town last week.

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Honestly, these almost smell appetizing as they bake (I tried a nibble off of one in the name of research; I didn’t exactly reach for seconds, but I could certainly see the appeal to a dog). Small disclaimer: these are not a replacement for dog food (they’re treats), though I think anyone considering making homemade treats for their dog is already aware of that. Also, some dogs have a wheat sensitivity, so these aren’t an ideal treat for those critters, but for most dogs they can be a part of a healthy diet, and are certainly better for your beloved pooch than the vast majority of commercial dog treats (hello preservatives!).

Adapted, barely, from Martha Stewart Living: March 2010

Yield: ≈ 2 dozen (depending on size of cutter)

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface ½ cup (1 ¾ ounces) wheat germ ½ cup (2 ¼ ounces) nutritional yeast (AKA brewer’s yeast) 2 teaspoons kosher salt 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (e.g. canola, grapeseed, etc)

1 ½ cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

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Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, nutritional yeast and salt. Add the oil to a large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the oil in two additions, alternating with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Dump the dough out onto a countertop or large cutting board that has been dusted with flour. Knead the dough til a cohesive mass forms (the dough will be sticky during this process, so don’t fret), then form into a thick disk. Dust the dough lightly with flour and roll out to ¼-inch thickness, taking care to move the dough a couple times in the rolling process to ensure it isn’t sticking to the surface.

Cut out rounds using a 2-inch round cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet, spacing the biscuits 1-inch apart. Re-roll any extra dough and repeat the process. Re-roll once more and cut any scrap dough into strips so as to not create waste (these make cute smaller treats). Press the pad of your thumb into the bottom half of each round, then use the pad of your pinky to make four toes along a slight arched shape. Don’t fret if it doesn’t come out quite right on the first few, you can always re-roll the dough and try again, or just bake off as is; it’s unlikely that your dog will mind.

Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes; brush the rounds with the remaining ½ cup chicken stock, then bake for 10 minutes more. Turn off the oven and let stand with the door closed for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool, and share with your furry friend!

Notes:

Nutritional yeast can usually be found in the bulk section of well-stocked grocery-stores. You can also buy it online.

If you have a small or not terribly active dog you may want to make smaller treats (I suspect a 1 – 1 ½-inch cutter would be nice) or you can always break them into smaller pieces after baking. That being said, I haven’t tried a smaller size cutter and I imagine it may be hard to make the paw-print impression. Alternatively you can simply cut them out in a grid any size you want with a knife (making roughly square treats without the paw print embellishment).

Unfortunately mine puffed up quite a bit, making the paw print detail less apparent; you may be able to reduce this by upping the time the treats are in the freezer before baking to 30 minutes. Let me know if this works (and I’ll update when I try it for myself). You can also skip the paw print detail all together (these would be sweet with a simple fluted cutter, or dog bone shape).

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Pepper approved.

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