Food & Drink

A cookie for Libby

These biscuits, made from substitutes for eggs and peanut butter, are good for dogs and people.
These biscuits, made from substitutes for eggs and peanut butter, are good for dogs and people. Submitted

So Petey had me make dog treats for training our new puppy, Crowley. He wanted something small, to carry in his pocket.

Petey and the pooch were out in the yard a couple weeks ago, when our neighbor’s dog, Luna, a beautiful blue rescue pit/mix went walkabout.

She ran right over and hung out with Crowley until her mom, Meghan, caught up with her. Petey gave her a handful of the little training treats. He explained that I made them and told her a few of the ingredients; one of which is peanut butter.

A few days after Petey gave Luna the treats, Meghan brought Libby, her sweet little toddler (human) over to visit our puppy.

She told me that she was grateful that Petey had told her about the peanut butter, because Libby loved feeding Luna, and she’d planned on giving her the cookies to feed their pooch.

But Libby is dangerously allergic to peanuts. Eggs and dairy are issues as well.

Kids and dogs both put everything in their mouths. I decided to make some treats that would be completely safe for little Libby to handle, and even eat.

But here’s the thing.

Finding recipes for peanut butter-free dog treats is extraordinarily difficult; try googling them. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

See?

In 0.77 seconds I found 1.12 million results for “name of George Clooney’s pet pig.” It’s Max by the way; and he’s been at the great barnyard in the sky for 11 years. But good luck finding recipes for non-allergenic dog treats.

So I took my already dairy-free standard recipe, and searched substitutes for the peanut butter and the eggs. And to make the task a little trickier, I wanted to use what I had on hand, and not purchase expensive, elusive, special ingredients.

For an egg I discovered 1 tablespoon ground flax seed, mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, works. And, I subbed in an avocado for the peanut butter.

They came out pretty well. My canine guinea pig, Crowley, did all five of his tricks for them, so I guess he liked them. But then he also eats rabbit poop, so maybe he’s a less than discerning food critic.

I took them over for Luna and her girl. And when I left, Libby was standing in a pile of dog biscuit crumbs, alternating between feeding them to her buddy and to herself.

Thanks for your time.

Debbie Matthews lives, writes, and cooks in Durham. Contact her at momsequitur@gmail.com.

Libby’s worry-free dog biscuits

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup melted bacon grease

1/4 cup vegetable oil (may substitute any oil combination)

2 tablespoons flax seeds

1 avocado

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

Big pinch salt

2 ½ -3 ½ cups flour

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400. Place racks in center two positions.

Line 2 very large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Prepare flax seed egg substitute: Place flax seeds, cornmeal, and 3/4 cup water in small food processor or blender. Blitz until it’s a paste and the seeds have broken down some.

Put 2 ½ cups flour, oats, and salt into bottom of a mixer bowl.

Add pumpkin and cornmeal-flax seed paste. Toss avocado into uncleaned processor and blend until smooth.

Pour in last 2 tablespoons water and the oils.

Mix on medium-low until it starts to come together in a ball. If dough’s too wet, add flour, a bit at a time.

Pour dough onto floured surface. Knead until it becomes a neat ball of dough.

Divide dough ball in half. Roll out into an approximately 8-by-12-inch sheet 1/4-inch thick. Place on parchment-covered sheet. Using pizza cutter, cut into 1/2-inch strips, then turn pan 90 degrees and cut strips into squares, 1/2-inch big (or larger if that's your preference). Leave attached; they'll break apart after baking.

Repeat with second piece of dough.

Place sheets on racks and bake for 10 minutes. Then spin pans 180 degrees and switch racks. Bake 15 more minutes.

After they've baked, turn off oven. Let them sit in unopened oven until they cool and dry (2-3 hours).

When cool, break apart and store in zip-top bag for up to a month. Unbaked dough can be frozen for up to three months. Makes about 6 cups.

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