Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baking Apple Pie Dog Biscuits for the pups...

While our apple supply is dwindling down (I'll be posting soon on what all we've been making), I thought it would be fun to incorporate them somehow into a treat for the pups! Their supply of homemade treats was running dangerously low anyway, so I came up with these Apple Pie Dog Biscuits.

I suppose I was a bit liberal with the title, but work with me! For flavor and texture, I used a combination of whole-wheat flour, robust rye flour and gritty cornmeal. Into those ingredients, I whisked in cinnamon, a dash of cardamom and a little ginger for their warm scents. I used apples in two forms - wet applesauce and shreds of the fresh fruit - while they both add moisture, I also poured in a bit of water to create the dough along with a little oil to keep it pliable.

The dough should be a little on the wet side when everything is stirred together - knead it on a floured surface, dusting with enough extra whole-wheat flour to keep it from sticking to you or your surface. When it is ready, it should be smooth and just barely tacky to the touch. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the treats after rolling the dough - I used festive miniature fall-themed ones that included an apple, different leaves and an acorn! This recipe makes a fair amount of treats, but don't be shy when placing them on the baking sheet - they can be fairly close together as they don't spread much. Bake them until they are golden and firm to the touch - the centers can still have some give to them though as they will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Max and Gus actually started howling (it only takes one of them to start and then they both feel the need to sing) as they were on the counter cooling - they sat there with their tails wagging as eager testers. I gave Max an acorn first, since he is the big brother, and the white fluff ball gobbled his down in record time! But, don't tell him that I gave Gus an apple-shaped one since it was a bigger piece... he was actually a little timid at first, but after a couple licks, the little guy chomped down on his crisp treat with a silly little grin on his face. I think they are both pleased!

We have plans for lunch tomorrow, so I wanted to make sure that dinner tonight only gave us two servings. While recipes can typically be scaled down, I also keep a separate pile of recipes that are specifically made to serve two for nights like this.

I searched for a pasta recipes as we both thought that sounded very good for dinner and after picking apart a few choices, I ended up with this snazzy Fettuccine Carbonara dish.

After I dropped the sticks of pasta into the boiling salted water, I started crisping up a bit of chopped pancetta. Pancetta is basically cured and spiced Italian bacon that is not smoked - however, if you wanted a smoky note in this dish, feel free to swap it out with regular bacon. Chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic are then added to the crisped meat, along with its drippings, until the onion gained a touch of color. The cooked pasta is tossed into the mix, along with milk that we seasoned with fresh grated Parmesan and parsley.

Now, before we drained the pasta so we could add it in, I reserved a bit of the hot pasta water - this is used to temper an egg before being thrown into the skillet. Is this completely necessary? Probably not, but this method gives you a layer of insurance so the egg doesn't curdle in the luscious sauce as it is warmed through. Serve with a bit more fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top, just because!


  1. Joe, you're treating Max & Gus really well. Cute dog biscuits.

  2. These look great! I actually just made some biscuits for some friends' dogs. Some I made with finely chopped apples (we had just gone apple picking and still have quite a few left). Others I made with kiwi since I had them around, and they were just a bit softer than I like to eat them. I like to use kiwi for tenderizing meat as well.

  3. I want to come back in my next life as a dog if someone made me apple pie dog biscuits. These are so sweet.

  4. Helene - We try!

    Pamela - Kiwi huh? That sounds like a nice tropical twist!

    Lisa - hee hee!

  5. I just love carbonara. If it wouldn't eventually kill me, I'd eat it at least once a week. At least.

  6. Jen - I know what you mean!