I’m assuming you’ve heard about this incredible giveaway going on at Kol’s Notes this week. And when I say amazing, I mean for real heavy duty, super duper MEGA crazy. The prize is every dog’s biggest fantasy wrapped in jerky and covered in liver dust.
That’s right, Kol’s Notes is giving away a brand new – too expensive for my wee budget – Excalibur Dehydrator.
This is serious stuff, pet lovers. We all know how lazy I am. Shiva has been complaining to her dog friends – or would if she had any – that it has been DECADES since I made her treats with my own two hands. Like, half her LIFE ago. Clearly I do not love her anymore. This dehydrator could change all that. Put me back on her top human list again, maybe even above the woman at the bakery who gave her a cinnamon twist. I need to enter this giveaway. My precarious relationship with the muttski demands it.
There is just one obstacle to this scheme. In order to enter, I need to come up with my own recipe.This is weave-pole level of trickiness because I do not cook. Ever. And the few times I have, that one weird afternoon several years ago in which I saw myself as the next Food Network star*, I required the use of several cookbooks. How am I supposed to come up with my own ingredients, my own techniques, and my own cooking methods when I have never even used a dehydrator before?
Instead of freaking out and giving up before I even started, I decided to get creative.
A quick browse for inspiration online showed me what I had already suspected. Most of the easy dog recipes involve beef and other red meats that my dog’s sensitive stomach does not tolerate. I know. She chows down garbage on a daily basis but one handful of lamb kibble has Shiva waking me up several times throughout the night. Building a recipe with cheap ingredients I already had at home was looking even more complicated if I was going to keep my dog’s guts intact.
So I did what I do best when research has failed me: made stuff up.
Looking through my cupboards, I couldn’t help but notice the gargantuan jar of peanut butter taking up the middle shelf. The peanut butter shelf. This stuff is practically a food group in our house. Though it may not be a traditional item in a dehydrated treat – based on what I found, anyway – I knew there had to be a way to incorporate it into my concoction.
Cue to me throwing a whole bunch of crap into a bowl, rolling the mixture into balls, and shoving it in the oven for eleventy-seven hours. Yes, I ended up sticking with what I know, baking cookies. We can’t all be culinary geniuses.
To be honest, I also kind of cheated. Since I had to use the oven and since I did it at the last minute and since I have no idea how to make anything without a recipe and SINCE I gave myself less than an hour to pull this together… The treats didn’t turn out as dehydrated as I would have liked. They were also made with pre-dried packaged ingredients instead of the real deal. But in theory, I do believe this would work. No, I am convinced it would work given a more dedicated cook and the right equipment.
Whatever, the dog still likes them.
Prove me wrong?
Here is my beautiful, if impatient, recipe for dehydrated hermit dog cookies:
You will need:
1 healthy portion of coconut**
3 or 4 handfuls of dried fruit, can be a mix of different ones, pick your dog’s favourites!
Grated carrot. (This was my PH’s addition. I think as the resident chef, he felt left out.)
Lots of spoonfuls of peanut butter. I kind of just added as I went, enough to make everything stick together but not too much to make it extra goopy.
Dump all of the ingredients into a bowl. Doesn’t matter what order, we’re not making brioche here. Mix them up. I like to use a wooden spoon. (My PH, the actual cook, said a metal one is better. Pshaw.) When the peanut butter looks like it has formed a cookie-like dough, or when your arm is tired, shape the mixture into small balls.
Dry in your oven or dehydrator at a low temperature for eleventy-seven hours or until they look crispy and like they won’t fall apart in your hands.
Makes about… Jeepers, I don’t know how many, a bowlful?
If you feel like something a little special, add a garnish of grated carrot and a spring of green leaf lettuce.
So… They may have turned out more crumbly than I anticipated. That doesn’t mean the recipe doesn’t work. It just means my oven isn’t a dehydrator. I challenge the winner of this competition to try this and I guarantee it will work. And if it doesn’t? I’ll owe you a signed picture of Shiva.***
Have you ever made your own treat recipe? Did your pets like it? I think I am going to stick to my usual method of hanging out in the living room reading blogs while my PH cooks. It seems safer and is far more successful.
*Yeah, I had this idea that me drunk on wine while baking cheesecake would make a brilliant show. This was after my idea for a travel show in which I drank wine while touring historical landmarks. Like “The Thirsty Traveler” only more nerdy.
**What? You expected proper measurements?
***Yes, I am still trying to give these away.