We're big fans of making homemade natural dog treats for our big guy around here. Not only is it a budget-friendly and fun activity, but it helps us know exactly what ingredients are going into Basil's food. When we recently got low on dog cookies and I needed to whip up a new batch, I thought it would be fun to come up with a new recipe combining some of his very favorite foods — sweet potatoes, peanut butter, oats and eggs.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (for frosting)
Please Note: as with all treats, it's best to let your pups enjoy while under your supervision. Different dogs react differently to ingredients, so keep a running list of your pup's allergies, avoiding those ingredients when making homemade treats. Similarly, dogs tolerate hot and cold treat temperatures differently, you know your dog best.
Our dog, Basil, loves peanut butter, so we loaded these treats up with crunchy peanut butter in the dough and used smooth peanut butter to decorate once baked. We used both the old fashioned crunchy and old fashioned smooth varieties of peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. We like that they're a natural nut butter without any added oils or sugars — just the straight-up good stuff:
Combine all of the ingredients except for the smooth peanut butter in a mixing bowl to form a workable dough. Using a stand mixer will help keep down on mess, but I combined everything using my hands and it worked just fine.
The end-consistency should be slightly sticky but not overly wet. You should be able to work the dough into a nice ball. Add more flour or water as needed to adjust consistency while mixing.
I love how you can see chunks of peanuts, whole oats and stripes of peanut butter and cooked sweet potatoes throughout the dough — doesn't it look delicious:
Roll out the dough onto a clean and floured surface to desired thickness. The treats don't expand much while baking, so they will remain pretty true to size. Use cookie cutters to cut out treat shapes from the dough — we have a favorite bone cutter we always use to make larger treats, then use a smaller shape, like a heart or circle to make a bunch of smaller ones for everyday spoiling:
Arrange the cookies onto sheet pans, and bake for at least 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes for harder treats — just keep an eye that they don't brown too much.
Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.
You can call it a day here — these treats are good to go as is, or you can give your pup a little snitch before moving onto the next step of adding a little decorative "frosting" to these guys.
To make the frosting, heat up the 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter to get a runny and melty consistency that will be easier to work with. There a couple ways we can decorate with this peanut butter "frosting" — dipping and drizzling!
I dipped a corner of each of the littler heart shapes into the melted peanut butter, allowing excess to drip away before placing to rest on a sheet of parchment paper:
Allow to rest and fully harden on the parchment paper before removing to store.
I used the remaining melted peanut butter to drizzle back and forth over the longer bone treats:
You can do this directly over the sheet of parchment paper they'll rest and harden on — don't these just look so fancy and yummy:
Here's what one of the bigger bones looks like completely cooled and finished:
The peanut butter "frosting" will remain slightly sticky once completely cooled, but won't make a huge mess. These treats store amazingly well in an airtight container in the fridge, and we like to keep ours in the freezer. Basil is a fast eater, so the frozen versions not only help preserve the treats longer, but give him a chance to enjoy them a little longer too.
Now you might be wondering, how did Basil like them? He was eager to come sit for a new treat, then silently muttered something along the lines of "Wait what? you want me to sit here with this cookie in front of my face while you take a picture?"
You can see it written all over his face:
"Brrrr, that's a little chilly, but I sure do love frozen cookies:"
"Yep, definitely worth the wait!"
Our friends at Peanut Butter & Co generously provided us with the peanut butter used in today's dog treat recipe. The recipe, and thoughts on the peanut butter are (as always) our own — thank you so much for supporting the partners that make 17 Apart possible. Keep a lookout for a giveaway from Peanut Butter & Co coming up soon!