The secret is to use tapioca flour.A reader has let me know that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing, and the latter is much cheaper. It can be found in most Asian markets and other stores as well. Thank you Lili! If you can wing it in the kitchen, read no farther. You’re on your way.
This is not usually a recipe blog, but it is definitely a concept blog. The concept here is that lots of high value brownie-type dog treats are crumbly and fall apart in your hand, treat bag, or pocket. Ewww. Especially if they are made with cornmeal, but even with wheat or most other flours.
Tapioca flour (or tapioca starch) is the trick. (It’s also grain free, for folks who care about that.) If it is expensive, you can experiment and cut it with some cheaper flour and see how far you can go. My other trick is that you can use all sorts of leftovers instead of one protein source for the treats, including that you can save the voluminous crumbs that many store-bought treats exude.
Here is the general method I follow for brownies.
Easy Brownies for Dogs
Puree in a food processor:
- 1 cup raw or cooked protein (see some suggestions below)
- 1-2 eggs, depending on the moistness of your other ingredients
Put the puree into a bowl and stir in:
- About 1 cup tapioca flour/starch, or a mixture of tapioca and other flour. You may need more or less, depending on your protein sources.
Mix well. It will stay a little sticky, but if it is too sticky to handle, add more flour. Toss it between your hands to make a patty and plot it into a greased pan. Bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes. Longer if you used raw ingredients.
This is what went in mine (pictured below), just to give you some ideas:
- 1/3 cup leftover meat from fajitas: beef, chicken, even a shrimp
- a few french fries
- 1/2 cup crumbs from commercial dog treats: mostly Natural Balance dog food roll and Stella and Chewies dehydrated raw treats, both of which crumble massively
- 1 tablespoon leftover Parmesan cheese crumbs
The mixture I used above yielded brownies that actually smelled like bacon. I think that was from the smoky flavor of the Natural Balance dog food roll. It wasn’t a terrible smell, and the dogs loved them. I have also made some very mild ones with chicken breast and a dollop of peanut butter. Those even smell kind of good to me!
The very easiest version is to use a can of tuna or salmon. Usually in that case I would use just one egg. You still need to puree it.
Even with the high-priced tapioca flour, these are far cheaper than any commercial treats that are this high value. And so much more pleasant to carry around.
Here’s a photo essay on making my version of the brownies. Hah. These aren’t beautiful photos, and any food blogger would scoff at them. But hopefully they get the point across.
Thank you to Anita Gard, who provided the first recipe I saw that used tapioca flour. Her treats are more moist, even less crumbly (they are rubbery), and bake longer. Here is her recipe:
Liver Dog Treats
- Equal parts (by volume) raw chicken livers and tapioca starch/flour. For example, about 1 1/2 lbs livers and 2 cups of tapioca flour work well.
- 2 TB oil
Put ingredients in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Line a cookie sheet (not a completely flat one; it needs edges) with parchment paper. Pour in the goop and spread it flat. It should be less than 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes or until done.
Cool in pan. Then lift the whole thing out with the parchment paper. Flip it over onto a large cutting board and peel off the parchment. Use a pizza cutter to cut into appropriate sized treats for your dogs.
Feel free to share your favorite dog treat recipes or methods!
The Secret to Filling a Food Tube (a great way to deliver ultra-high value treats!)
|↑1||A reader has let me know that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing, and the latter is much cheaper. It can be found in most Asian markets and other stores as well. Thank you Lili!|