So, it hasn’t been often in recent years that we’ve had a full-on snow day here in Missouri. The winters have been mild for some time, so our current snow-pocalypse has been interesting. We have about a foot of snow outside right now, wind chills in the -20’s, and I’m not even attempting to go outside. Today seemed like a great day to do some baking.
It’s been months since I’ve tried a new treat recipe, and today seemed like the day to do it. So, I poked around the kitchen and came up with what I think is my greatest idea to date (though, I’m not the first to have this epiphany, after I came up with this idea, I searched the internet to find there are tons of similar recipes already): Carob dog treats.
What is carob, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Carob comes from the seed pods of the carob tree, which grows in Mediterranean regions of Greece, Spain, Catalonia, and Sicily. The seed pods can be ground into powder, processed into a syrup, or mixed with palm oil to create “chips” similar to chocolate chips. Carob has a similar taste to dark chocolate – nutty, a bit bitter, sweet, and earthy. Carob has been used for some time as a substitute for chocolate. I had some on hand from a diet I was on about a year ago. Carob powder has far less calories than cocoa, and doesn’t contain caffeine, or theobromine. Scientific studies detected no caffeine or theobromine in carob powder, compared to cocoa powder, which on average contains 20.3 mg/g of theobromine and 3.14 mg/g of caffeine.¹ Theobromine is the stuff in chocolate that makes it toxic to dogs. So, carob powder is safe for dogs to eat (just make sure you are using the powder, there are trace amounts of theobromine in commercially made carob confections and chips).
I made biscuits for Catherine using carob powder and bananas, similar to a recipe posted by Kolchak the Puggle. Let me tell you, Catherine went absolutely bananas for this treat! She was under my feet the whole time I was working in the kitchen, peeking up at me with her unusually unkempt hair.
As soon as the treats were cooled off, we let Catherine give them a try – love at first bite. Catherine absolutely loves these treats. Not surprisingly, so do my kids. I have two girls, aged 5 and 7, and they have to taste every treat I make (with the exception of the Liver Treats, they won’t go near those). The kids kept asking for more! I tried one and they are pretty awesome. Not too sweet, not overpowering – sort of like a banana dipped in dark chocolate. Delish!
1 medium ripened banana
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil (room temp)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup carob powder
1/2 cup coconut flour*
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour*
*You can substitute 1 3/4 cup of whatever flour you have on hand.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (preferably with coconut oil). In a large bowl, mash banana and add eggs, honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, and baking podwder. Mix well.
Add the carob powder and flour to your bowl and mix until all the flour is combined.
The dough will look like chocolate sugar cookie dough.
Roll out the dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Cut out the treats with a cookie cutter. Place the treats on your prepared baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven. Cook for 10 minutes then flip the treats over, return to oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely before serving.
Store your treats in an airtight container.
The nifty little container I am using for these treats is called “Pupperware” and they are totally awesome. I have a couple of these and they are bone shaped and stack together. You can get yours online for just $3.99. They come in clear with lid colors of clear, pink, red, and black. Click here to get some for yourself: Bone-shaped Pupperware to store your dog treats.
1. Winston J. Craig and Thuy T. Nguyen, “A Research Note: Caffeine and theobromine Levels in Cocoa and Carob Products,” Journal of Food Science 49 (1984): 303.