Sunday, February 15, 2009

Got a Date?

Dogs need love too...and what better way to show them than through homemade Valentine cookies? (Well, I suppose letting them sleep on the couch, chase the mailman and drink out of the toilet is probably what they'd prefer, but for the sake of my sanity I'm just going to express my love via the humble cookie!)

Being owned by a beagle and a wannabeagle, I have been highly trained in the art of cookie-giving. Long, loooooong years have been spent in patient repetition of the cookie-drop stance and, by Jove, I think I finally have it!

However, what is the use of being so gifted if you never actually have the chance to practice what they've drummed into you? And since most commercial dog cookies are out because they contain other animals, these vegan pups of mine have suggested strongly that I begin experimenting with making my own. And so, it is with great fanfare that I unveil the latest round of vegan cookies for our canine friends. These latest little nuggets of joy are a real winner so I am excited to share the recipe!

'Got-a-Date-With-Brown-Rice-and-Sweet-Potato Cookie Delights for Dogs'

Here's what you need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sweet potato, finely diced
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked and cooled
3 tbsp chopped dates (5-6 whole dates, approx)
2 tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup water

- Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees
- Mix your flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Add in the rice, sweet potato and chopped dates and mix so that they are nicely distributed.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl and add first the canola and then the water.
- Mix well and - when it is almost completely mixed in - abandon your wooden spoon in favour of your hands. Knead gently for a minute or so.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and turn the dough out onto it.
- Press it down with your hands and then roll out thinly (to about 1/4 inch thick).
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 mins.

Now comes the fun part. Once you remove the baking sheet from the oven you can go ahead and cut the whole huge cookie into bitesize pieces. In the past I have found that a pizza wheel makes life really simple in this regard: first cut long strips and then turn the tray through 90 degrees and cut across again to form squares.

At this point, you'll notice that the cookies are still relatively soft. And this is the key: once you've cut the one giant cookie into many smaller ones, put the tray back in the oven for a further 30 minutes - biscotti-style!

After 30 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the cookies inside to dry out even more and to cool. That way, they have that awesome crunchiness that doggies the world over will sit up and beg for!

Anyways, given the Valentine's Day connection, I felt Darwin (the Loud) and Humphrey (the Small and Irritating) deserved little bits of my heart instead.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends...and stay vegan!


Tara said...

This looks like a better recipe than the one I've been using! I hope the beagle and the wannabeagle enjoyed them!

Amanda said...

Hi Tara!

Wow - I just checked out *your* blog...vegan in Alaska, I am impressed! :)

Yes, my boys loved these particular cookies and I'm not sure that the heart-shapes had much to do with it. LOL. I just caught the beagle counter-surfing his way around the whole kitchen in pursuit of the cookie jar....I only wish I had a camcorder for that little performance!
- Amanda

Sara said...

Excellent! I LOVE making homemade doggie treats! This one sounds yummy, and I have no doubt Mocha will just devour them! Thanks for the recipe!!