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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Because your doggy deserves scratch cooking, too, sometimes!
This is Stella. Stella joined our little family about 6 months ago after we finally decided three years without a dog was enough. When my husband and I finally made the decision, I started going online looking at dogs at various local shelters. I knew from the moment that I saw her, Stella was coming home with me... err... I mean us.
So, my husband and I went to that particular shelter to check things out. He, of course, wanted to meet every dog there. But the moment I met Stella, I was absolutely, positively sure. Stella and her brother were brought to the shelter together as year and a half old dogs. Well, whoever owned them hadn't taken care of them, let alone gotten either "fixed." As you might imagine, the staff soon came to realize that Stella was in the family way. Being a no-kill shelter, Stella stayed at the shelter to have her five puppies and then wait for someone to come and take her home.
She is such a kind dog and her desire to please is huge. Unfortunately, she was two years old by the time we took her home and the fact that she had never been taught much of anything has led to some problems. I have been working with her and, in addition to praise, have been using Milkbone puppy treats broken in half as training treats.
This weekend, possibly as a stall tactic to not grade student papers, I decided to try making my own training treats. I have previously had good success making dog treats in cute little bone shapes. They were very popular at the farmers' market I sold at in Ohio. But, they are too large to use as training treats and I wanted to try a mix that was simpler to make than the yeast dough I used before.
I decided to put together a recipe that was similar to drop biscuits or muffins, but were small and baked until almost crispy. They turned out fabulously! And Stella will do whatever I ask to get one and I am assured they are safe and healthy for my girl!
Making the batter is really easy; simply mix together the ingredients and then place into a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip. Pipe small balls onto a parchment lined sheet pan and use a pair of scissors to snip each one cleanly as you pipe them out. Dip your finger in a bit of water and dab any stray tips that might be left behind from the piping process. Bake, cool, and be prepared for your dog to follow you around... well, like a puppy dog!
Yield: about 200 small treats, about 1 1/2 quarts
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups beef broth, reduced to 2/3 cup
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
In a small sauce pan, boil the broth until it has reduced by about half. Let cool until almost room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, mix the eggs and shortening until well incorporated. Beat in the broth and yogurt. Add the flour and baking soda. Stir until well mixed, but try not to over do it. Too much mixing will develop the gluten in the flour and make them harder to pipe out.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. I used a Wilton #12. Pipe small blobs (about 1 cm across) onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Use a pair of scissors to snip each clean from the bag. You can put them fairly close together. I fit approximately 50 treats on each 11x17 inch pan.
Dip your finger in some water and then dab any unshapely treats into proper form. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. I baked two trays at a time and switch positions half way through (I do not have a convection oven). Remove treats when they are lightly golden and let cool completely before storing in an air tight container.