Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Treats (Happy Birthday Puppy Floptimism!)

Puppy Floptimism, more commonly known as Yogi (or Yogi Bear, Yogurt, The Yogster - really anything), turned 2 years old today! Last year, for his first birthday, we threw a party. It was more an excuse for me to cook dinner and make a cake and invite people over to eat all of the wonderful food, but it was fun and festive nonetheless. This year, I chose to avoid the people-pleasing food and make Yogi some treats of his own, that he could have all to himself. The inspiration for making him his own treats came when Pet Foodie, a blogger on Foodbuzz, "friended" me, or whatever the Foodbuzz-equivalent of that is called. Although I haven't actually interacted with her much, I do eye the dog treats she shares on her blog pretty often. They're always so creative and interesting, and if I were a dog offered one of her treats, I would never want those generic milkbones again.

I chose a simple recipe to start out with, one whose ingredients I knew I would have on hand: peanut butter & honey biscuits. They came together in a flash, just a bowl and spoon required, and baked up pretty well, too. I even tried one, despite having used the Forbidden Jar of Jiff that my family keeps in stock, and I can't complain too much. They taste pretty much exactly how you would imagine a homemade peanut butter and honey dog biscuit would taste: sturdy, a little dry, and not very sweet - but not at all offensive, either. The real taste test came when The Birthday Boy tried one this afternoon: he took it whole in his mouth and held it for a minute, clearly taking time to appreciate the complexity of flavors as his salivary enzymes got to work and making me wonder if he had actually just swallowed it whole, then chewed it up and spent the next minute scavaging the floor for any remnant crumbs. Needless to say, these are Yogi Approved (although, using the taste preferences of a dog who used to eat rocks may not be the best point of reference in these matters).

I wanted to do a cost analysis comparing these treats to store bought ones, but I couldn't find an actual biscuit count on the boxes of treats - just the net weight. However, if you're interested, a full batch of these (yielding 3-4 dozen, I made a half batch of about 1 3/4 dozen) would cost a whopping $3.18. 24oz. of Milkbone biscuits are listed online for anywhere between $4.50 and $6.50, depending on stores and sale prices. Maybe someone reading this would know more about how many bones come in one of those boxes (if so, please share!), but it makes sense to me that there would be about 4 dozen biscuits in that size box, making the homemade much cheaper. Plus, I took a look at the ingredients in the store bought ones, and let's just say it's not as simple as the list I'm about to show you. Check it out:

Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Treats, courtesy of Doggy Dessert Chef
Yield: 3-4 dozen
(printable recipe)

The Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter*
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup+ milk
2 cups whole wheat flour

The Method
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until the consistency of the dough is workable and formable, but still crumbly. Additional milk (just a splash) may be necessary to achieve this.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roll the dough out to about 1/8-1/4" thick onto a work surface. You may need to add a little bit of flour, but too much could run t
he risk of a dough that cracks and falls apart. Cut into desired shapes and place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.** Prick the tops of all of the cookies with a fork (totally forgot to do this - I don't think it harmed the treats overall...) Place into the preheated oven and bake for around 10 minutes, looking for the edges to turn a light brown color. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet and then refrigerate. The biscuits will remain slightly chewy, but they will firm up a little once cooled and chilled.

*Like I said, I used non-natural peanut butter, but the original bl
ogger seems to be pretty health-conscious in terms of ingredients chosen, so I would imagine natural is fine. I would definitely have tried it if we had any on hand, but I recently finished up my container and haven't gotten to the store to replace it yet. **I rerolled my dough about 3 times, and took the scraps from the third time (when it started to get difficult to roll out) and just baked them as scraps instead of shapes. I'm thinking that baking for dogs is the way to go - it doesn't matter if you increase the gluten strands or don't make each cookie a fun shape. Trust me, they will be eaten just as quickly either way!

One Year Ago: The Puppy's First Birthday, Part 1 (Vanilla Buttercream Cake)

So, Happy Birthday Puppy Floptimism! Here's to hoping the Terrible Twos apply only to babies, and not labrador mixes...

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