Best dog treat hack ever! Here’s how to make batches of more than 500 small treats at a time without having to cut them up.
- Buy a silicone cooking mat for low-fat cooking. One brand available by mail order is called the Pyramid Pan. It has 556 little protrusions. The idea is that you can roast a piece of meat on there and the fat can run out. K-Mart also has one.
Turn it upside down. Now you have a mold with 556 small cavities.
- Mix up your favorite treat recipe, but adapt it in the following ways:
- If there is anything coarse in the recipe, put the batter through a food processor. It needs to be smooth.
- Adjust the liquid so that it is more like a batter than a dough.
- Put the silicone mold, cavity side up, on a large cookie sheet or baking pan.
Spread the batter around so that it fills all the little holes. This can take a while (but not as long as cutting them all up!). You can use a spatula, egg turner, or even a table knife. As you finish this process, scrape the top so that the boundaries between the holes are fairly batter-free.
- Bake it for about half to two-thirds the time you normally would (see my recipe below).
- Take it out of the oven, and when it’s cool enough to handle, dump the treats out into a container.
- Smile because you don’t have to spend the next 20 minutes cutting up treats and cleaning up crumbs.
I don’t normally measure ingredients when I make treats, but getting the consistency right is important for this recipe. So here is one I tested that came out well.
Simple Baked Chicken Treats
1 10-oz can chicken including liquid
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tablespoon oil
- Blend the chicken, its liquid, and 2 eggs in a food processor.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the flours and oil. (You can adjust the ratio of tapioca to regular flour if you like. See my post about making treats with tapioca flour.) The batter should be a little thicker than pancake batter but still pourable.
- Spread half the batter onto the silicone mold on a cookie sheet as described above. Take the time to get the batter into the holes. Scrape it off the dividers.
- Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Remove from the oven.
- When the silicone sheet is cool enough to handle, turn it over and dump the treats out. This is the best part!
- Bag them up and refrigerate or freeze.
This recipe yields two molds full, or about 1,100 treats.
- These treats are small. In most cases, I would give my dogs at least two.
- Their little corners are sharp. They are fine when soft, but I wouldn’t want to bake them too long and get them crisp.
- You can spend forever getting batter into the rows on the outer edges of the mold. After I made my first batch (pictured above) I didn’t bother anymore. I dolloped some batter in the middle of the mold and spread it as far as it naturally went. The beauty of this method is that it saves you the time and hassle of cutting the treats up. It doesn’t make sense to me to spend that time getting perfect edges instead.
- Also in the interest of efficiency, I experimented with not cleaning the dividers of the mold very carefully. I thought I wouldn’t mind if some of the treats were attached to each other. But the places where the batter had baked on top of the mold were very dry. I’ll go back to doing it neatly.
- I never greased the mold in any of the recipes I tried. I never had trouble getting the treats out.
- Finally, I made a batch using an adaptation of a peanut butter/pumpkin treat recipe I make a lot. They turned out great but took forever to spread into the mold because the batter was stickier. I may be able to tweak the recipe so that it works better, but for now, I will probably stick with a meat-based recipe.
Bonus hack: these treats work marvelously in a Manners Minder remote control treat dispenser! The treats are the right size for the insert that has 3/4-inch holes. Because they are soft they don’t jam the mechanism. And because treats with tapioca flour hold together well there are few crumbs.
- The Secret to Quick Non-Crumbly Homemade Dog Treats
- The Secret to Filling a Food Tube
- Tricks for Frozen Dog Treats
Thank you to Alanna Lowry for passing along this great hack. She got it from her friend Suzie Greentree, who got the idea from another friend. We are not sure who came up with it first.
Copyright 2017 Eileen Anderson