Hello all, and a very happy Holiday to everyone! Whatever you celebrate (and tonight is Christmas Eve) I hope this season finds you well, hopeful, healthy and at peace. I and my little zoo here in the Gatineau Hills are enjoying a respite from the extreme cold, and some happy, lazy, playful downtime as well.
2016 was a heck of a year, for the world at large, for so many of my friends, clients, students. Don’t we all need a little ease about now?
A couple of days ago I promised another little recipe for the season. Now I admit, I don’t do nearly as much baking as I once did, but when this time of year draws nigh, I have a few favorites I make for the humans in this household…cranberry/chocolate tart (a Lucy Waverman recipe I’ve made and cherished for 30 years)…sticky toffee pudding…Christmas morning pecan rolls…I like to bake, I just don’t need the carbs on a regular basis… and my dogs? Their usual treats consist of Kongs stuffed with mixtures of sweet potato, quinoa, ground meats, assorted antioxidant-rich veggies and herbs, and pieces of egg or chicken. They always have some plain yogurt, and I make up a batch of high protein biscuits from time to time.
At Christmas, I feel the need to make gingerbread cookies…for the dogs.
Zeke, watching me bake. Zeke loves gingerbread anything.
But here’s the thing. I work, as regular readers here know, in part as a nutritionist for dogs. My focus is on therapeutic nutrition, the formulation of individual recipes for dogs with all kinds of conditions, some that need very carefully calibrated nutrients and some who need more general, but always optimized dietary support. My clients have dogs with atopy, with renal failure, with cancer, with various bladder stones, liver disease, IBD and more. And these guys, too, need to have treats, despite often very strict dietary guidelines. Often they cannot have anything with gluten; or they’re okay with barley but not wheat; or they need lower fat, or restricted phosphorus… low fat, egg-free, all kinds of variations. And to that end, I am going to release a baked treats and cookies e-book in the New year, because really there is such a need. For today, I wanted to offer a classic holiday favorite – the gingerbread cookie – with a few variations. Nothing complicated, and the dogs just love them all.
Season’s greetings, all.
Basic Gingerbread Cookies
These are fairly high fat, at 31%. For dogs with no issues with wheat, eggs or moderate fat, they’re great. Variations to follow.
2 large eggs
3 Tbsps coconut oil
2 Tbsps honey
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 Tbsp dried organic ginger
1 tsp powdered “true” cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
To make this recipe, simply beat your two eggs, and add the molasses and honey – blend in melted (but not hot) coconut oil. Then stir both spices into the flour and beat the dry mixture into the wet, about a half cup at a time.If it starts to get too stiff, add a little hot water ( 1/8 to 1/4 cup). Blend vigorously until a smooth dough is formed, then refrigerate about a half hour for ease of handling.
When the dough feels ready to handle, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead a few turns, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. At this point you can use any cookie cutters you like to make the cookie shapes, and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake about 15 minutes at 375 degrees, cool on a rack and serve.
To make a low fat, egg free version of this recipe, substitute one mashed banana and three Tbsps applesauce for the eggs and oil. Doing this reduces the fat content from 31% to just 4%.
To make it glutenfree, use rice flour in place of the spelt.
You can use rice flour with a bit of coconut flour, say 2 cups rice and 1/2 cup coconut. Add dried cranberries if your dog enjoys them, or blueberries, or dates – but no raisins.
This recipe , like the meatloaf ideas, is a flexible treat option that can accommodate a number of special needs.
And look for my e-book next year, with many more options to explore.
Have a beautiful holiday with your beloved dogs. 🙂