While we're coming up with special treats for one another during the holidays, let's not forget our little four-legged friends. They aren't necessarily looking for the sweets that we indulge in this time of year. But their taste buds will thank you for this little bit of bacon-y goodness:
I had some bacon fat already on hand, and you might too. This is a great way to use it up, and it makes this quick and easy recipe just that much easier. This is a simple base, which stands alone or to which you can add your own flourishes based on your friend's tastes. Some ideas for easy add-ins: parsley (a natural breath freshener for us and for our dogs), natural peanut butter for a boost of protein, pureed spinach for a healthy kick, or even leftover pumpkin puree. Avoid chocolate and raisins, which - while used heavily in our own holiday treats - aren't good for pup.
I simply cut these into approximately 1x4" bars, but you can also use bone- or heart-shaped cookie cutters to shape this rolled dough.
Homemade Doggie Treats
Makes 24 bars
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup melted bacon fat
1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix by hand until dough forms. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Add more bacon fat or water if the dough is too stiff.
Roll out onto a floured surface, to a thickness of just under 1/2". Cut into 1x4" bars and transfer to a cookie sheet. Poke divots into the bars (I use the end of a chopstick) and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes (until lightly browned). Turn the oven off, flip the bars, and place back in the oven until cool (this will further crisp them).
Treats can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Related: Recipe Roundup: Homemade Pet Treats
(Images: Regina Yunghans)