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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Be Awesome at Cooking: Dog Treats!

So we have these dogs now. 

We're like, foster parenting them for a few months.  It's really fun, except when they do something crazy like knock over the trash can or start going through packages of Ramen noodles.  But anyway, mostly fun.

However, I have learned that dogs are expensive.  Really expensive.  Especially for two larger dogs.  The food, the treats, the grooming, the vet bills, (OMG the vet bills!!), etc.  It all adds up.  So last week we ran out of doggie treats, and instead of buying more, I decided to make some.

I found a recipe in an old kids' cookbook that I've had since I was little, and I've always wanted to try it.  Here are all the things you will need:


1/4 cup hot tap water
8 chicken bullion cubes
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

(It called for wheat flour and all-purpose flour, but I didn't have any wheat flour, so I just used all regular-type.)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and pour the water in a large bowl.  Add the bullion cubes and crush then with a fork.  Stir in the yeast and let it stand about 5 minutes.  (The directions never said what to do with the sugar, but I believe it should go in with the yeast here.)

Add the tomato juice, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and the wheat germ.  Stir to form a smooth batter.  Then stir all the rest of the flour (both kinds, if you have them).

At this point, your dough is like, a soft brick. 

No, really.

It's really dry and rubbery, so I had to use my hands to finish mixing.  Then you take a couple of hand fulls of dough and put them on the counter to roll out.  The instructions say to flour the counter and use more flour if the dough is sticky, but mine was so dry, I didn't really have that problem.  Then you roll it out with a rolling pin.

This took actual effort.  I actually got a little winded from doing that, which is kinda sad, but it's really tough dough.  Really it is.  My getting winded had nothing to do with my lack of physical prowess.  For reals.

Anyway, you roll it out to 1/4" thick, and then you use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.  It's way easier than making Christmas cookies, which never stay in the right shape for me.  These things worked great!  I made two shapes.  Small ones and big ones.

Then you cook them in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour, and then turn the oven off and let them dry in there for about 4 hours. 


I think next time though, I might not cook them quite so long or let them dry so long.  They were really hard, and the dogs had a little trouble with them. They still ate them, mind you, and seemed to like them just fine, but I noticed that they were a good deal more difficult to chew than the treats they were used to.

Oh, and did I mention that I made 30 treats, which is how much comes is a normal treat package, and I didn't even use HALF of the dough?  I kept the rest in the refrigerator and made more later, and I still haven't used it all.  I would say, with the size treats that I made, I could get over 100 treats out of one recipe. 

Price-wise, this was definitely a win.  The wheat germ was the most expensive ingredient that I had to buy, and I used about $2 worth of it.  I had to get tomato juice, of which I used about $1 worth, and a yeast packet is like, $.25.  Total, it probably cost around $5 to make, while most regular-sized bags of dog treats cost around that much, for 20-30 treats.  So, it's like getting a buy one, get two free!

Plus, I used the extra tomato juice that didn't get used for the treats to make tomato soup, so it was a win for everyone!

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