Saturday, October 1, 2016

About the Recipe: Honey-Glazed, Ginger-Chicken and Wild Rice Treats

It’s been longer than I would have liked since I posted a dog treat recipe, but it is what it is. Plus, we still have some of the last treats—the Peanut Butter and Jelly Treats; and in reality, I made these treats last weekend…but I didn’t post it because it was a pretty busy weekend for me.

Our morning last Saturday started by shaving Presley…which is something that we’d put off pretty much all summer; and it was the main reason I didn’t want to put off making these treats again. After cutting his hair, I moved onto mowing the lawn. Then I went and got my own hair cut; and if I were all about equality between pets and humans, I would have had to let Jesse and Presley cut my hair for me. Thankfully, neither of them have thumbs so they can’t hold the clippers; and Rob is all talk—so I turned to a professional for my own hair.

Sunday was spent at the Fair Grove Heritage Festival at the Old Mill in Fair Grove, Missouri; and it’s a tradition (I have family there). I was actually super proud of my adult self—I was the one who made the plans for my friends, my mom, and I to meet and attend…and I followed up and through with those plans. It’s my shining adult moment for the year (until I visit Nancy in Omaha later in October—and if you’re wondering why that’s an adult moment, let me break it down: I’m going to drive my own car which I purchased with my own money all alone through several major metropolitan areas all alone with no parents with me…and I rest my case).

Also on Sunday, I made Rob “treats”, too, in the form of chocolate chip cookies. As I was making these treats for our boys, Rob implied that I never make him anything and I just bake for our dogs—clearly, he forgot all the bread, cookies, cakes, pies, and dinners I’ve made for him; but it’s a common complaint when you bake for dogs—the humans in your life beg for treats, too. It is what it is; and instead of working on this post, I made my lover chocolate chip cookies.

 Back to poor, poor, good-natured Presley who endured over 2 hours of shaving (off and on) without once snapping or even growling (the most violent thing he did during this process was lay down and refuse to turn the way we needed him) to end up looking like he got a homemade hair cut from his daddies…which has inadvertently revealed that he is now our gray dog and no longer really our black dog…poor gray dog deserved a treat or three for every bald spot where Rob got a little close and left a little too much skin showing.

FYI: he looks good now…well, I’m used to what he looks like now; and if it’s any consolation, I think we’ve resolved ourselves to having Presley groomed next time…

Anyway, later Saturday evening, I set about making these treats; and they’re gluten-free simply because I still had some left over flours I felt like I needed to use. When I made my whole-grain, gluten-free all purpose baking mix, I blended multiple different flours together to make it; and while I still have several grams of it left, I still had a lot of potato and some brown and glutinous rice flours left. So, I blended those different flours together. I ended up blending 360 grams of flour—which is a little less than a cup more than I really needed, but I knew I’d need dusting flour as well (not to mention that I started with only mixing brown rice and potato flours together without thinking that I would need to lighten up the mix with the glutinous rice flour—so it ended up being more than I needed that way, too).

For this recipe, I ended up mixing 120G potato flour with 127 grams brown rice flour (the left over amount from the previous flour mix) and 113 grams glutinous rice flour (enough to round out the grams to an even 360). If you remember, a cup of regular flour is approximately 120 grams. I estimated that I would need about 2 cups or 240 grams. I added the 240 grams to the mix and then used the rest of the mix when I rolled out the dough.

Potato and brown rice flours are some of the heavier, more dense flours; and I think they work just fine for these treats; and since I’m talking about the flours, I’ll go ahead and admit that I left out the baking powder by chance—but in the end, I decided that it wouldn’t make a difference and I didn’t really want these treats to rise anyway. I like them as a firm treat instead of a fluffy one—plus, I’m not sure if they would rise anyway with all that potato flour.

If you’re looking over the two different formulations of this recipe and noticing that the baking temperature is different—it’s not a typo. The GF recipe bakes low, and you’ll almost dry out the recipe as you’re baking them. One of the pitfalls to GF recipes is that those particular flours tend to brown more than others; and also, the additional egg (gluten-free recipes need more binders) adds more protein which also increases browning. So a lower baking temperature may not be needed, but I think it helps with the end result.

Just FYI: I haven’t tested the non-GF recipe; but I believe it should work out just fine. If you go that route and it’s not coming together very well, add a bit more applesauce (by the tablespoon) until it starts to mix well. Applesauce is kind of wonderful for this kind of baking especially. Your dogs will appreciate a little sweetness; and since it can sub for eggs or butter/oil, applesauce will add binding in recipes and moisten them—it’s great like that.

Now, I used fresh ginger—I got a finger of it from the produce section which was about 3 ½ inches long (and yes, you can kind of break off the size piece you need when shopping for it); and after peeling (the outer skin should come off easily with a vegetable peeler), when I ground it out, it measured to almost 2 tablespoons exactly (there were some of the more fibrous parts that I didn’t include at the very end—plus, I didn’t want to grate off my finger tips).

To me, fresh ginger smells amazing; but it’s spicy—not hot spicy, but it’s got kind of a bite to it (think horseradish). The ginger plant is related to turmeric and not only has anti-inflammatory properties (great for older dogs) but also aids in ailments from nausea and upset stomach to heart worm (source: If you don’t want to buy fresh ginger and mess with grating it, then I think you could substitute with a tablespoon of dry—but again, fresh ginger smells so much better.

Now, I went the canned chicken route; but you could just as easily use leftover shredded chicken (and hopefully you didn’t salt it too much). If you want to cook your chicken fresh, I would definitely suggest cooking it with some sliced ginger in a crock pot, poaching/boiling on the stove top or baking it. Just be sure not to season it—your dogs don’t need the extra salt and probably won’t really care for the pepper.

Since the rice needs to be cooled anyway, you could also use leftovers there, too; and yes, the same cautions apply to the rice as the chicken, you don’t want to season it too much—especially salt or butter (depending on the initial reason you cooked the rice). And yes, any rice will really work so long as you have a cup of it. Truth be told, I used a black rice which wasn’t actually wild rice—the price of a pound of wild rice was over $4 and the black rice I bought was less than ½ of that; but it looks almost the same as wild rice and no one really needs to know—plus, wild rice sounds better.

We don’t eat rice all that often in my house (Rob doesn’t like it all that much), so I did cook mine especially for this recipe. I followed the package instructions to end up with a cup in the end; and I boiled it in some unsalted chicken stock to pump up the flavor. I love this stock for my dog treats since it only has 45 mg of salt—which is by far the least amount of salt I could find in an off the shelf stock (it’s Swanson’s—and this post is in no way sponsored)…even the reduced sodium versions have over 400mg which is just more than I
want to give my boys; and I’m posting the picture with the brand name because it really is the one with the least salt I’ve found so far.

Mixing the treats went easily. I threw the chicken, rice, ginger, eggs and applesauce in a bowl and mixed it up really well before I added the flour; and then mixed until there was no more dry flour. A caution is that you may want to use your hands as this mixture did bend my poor spatula (yet again) since it’s kinda stiff… it also stays kinda sticky, so you will want to flour your rolling surface, your cookie cutter of choice, and your rolling pin. You’ll also definitely want to use a silicone baking mat or parchment with this one especially if you use the honey glaze.
Again, when rolling and cutting treats, you’ll want to place the shapes as close together when cutting to get as many shapes as possible from the fewest amounts of rolls. This is mostly for ease of operation with the GF version; but if you’ve opted for a wheat-based flour, then you need to worry about the developing gluten every time you roll them out again. Also, be sure to keep your cutter well floured for the sharpest shapes; and an off-set spatula is a great tool to help remove them from your rolling surface even if you used a fair amount of flour.
Now, the honey glaze was included purely because, come on, it sounds really fancy; and in reality, it was super easy to mix…honey and water…then I just brushed it on the treats right before I put them in the oven. In reality, I don’t know that it did all that much for the treats other than increase the words used for their name; but it was an easy addition that I felt might add a touch of sweetness to them. Plus, my mom got some honey from an apiary from my hometown; and honey is dog safe in moderation (you don’t want to add too many sugars). The water was used to make it a bit more spreadable; and I think if (read: when) I did it again, I’d do a 2 to 1 ratio with the honey and water (that’s twice as much honey as water) because I really like the idea of a honey-glazed treat.
As they were baking, my house smelled of fried chicken (in a good way—just to clarify if any of you would find that bad); and my boys (both gray and yellow) reacted favorably. I took them out of the oven just before we went to bed; and I almost thought about waiting until the morning before giving them their customary odd balls. However, we hovered in the kitchen just long enough for them to cool to where I didn’t think they get their mouths burned; and even a week later, they love them.

The final product actually looks quite impressive. There are chucks of chicken decorated with flecks of black rice, plus they smell delicious. Ingredient wise, there’s only a few; and if you make them with wheat flour, there are even less. And they’re
really easy to mix and roll out. Again, another success!

Stay tuned for the rest of October…I’m planning pumpkin spice treats and probably something with sweet potatoes. Since my dogs like them, the flavors of fall are definitely going to make an appearance in the next couple of months.

As always, the actual recipe for these treats should follow (scroll down or click here); and feel free to comment, email, or contact via social media links to the right with your questions.  And don’t forget to follow Jesse (who is still various shades of yellow) on Twitter @Jdawg_yellow!

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