Yay, potluck time! Welcome!
Yowsers, Keepin’ it kind… what a tough act to follow!
This is not exactly the kind of side dish that you are probably anticipating. I wanted to take part in the VVP, but struggled to think of a VVP-worthy dish. I decided to create a “side” dish for my trusty four legged sidekicks that help inspire me daily to try make the world a better place for all animals (human and non-human).
You can sneak one over the side of the table while you are enjoying all the other lovely VVP dishes you have made… I know it should not be encouraged, but it is a special occasion – we do not have a potluck like this every day.
“A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.” – Helen Thomson
I have included beetroot pulp in this recipe, since I am sure we are going to have many wonderful beetroot juice recipes and you will have lots of pulp left over, and instead of feeding your worm-farm or chucking it on the compost heap, you can use it as an ingredient in this recipe.
It is also a healthy and affordable way of creating some treats for all of your hunny-bunny-fluffy-fur-kids.
(It is scary to see what rubbish ingredients are included in commercial dog biscuits!)
I have made this in many variations, depending on what I have available at home.
The ratios may change, depending on the ingredients, but the 4 ingredients that are always included are:
- Peanut butter
- Apple sauce
The rest of the ingredients depend on what I have available at home, sometimes I may use the pulp left over after juicing, leftover beans, if I was a bit over enthusiastic at soaking and cooking a batch of beans to be used for the week, sometimes I use flour that may be close to the expiry date… hopefully you get the idea – you can really just wing-it.
Makes approximately 50 bite sized biscuits
2 – 3 cups flour (for this batch, I used rice flour)
2 – 4 cups pulp (in this case beetroot pulp)
1 cup peanut butter
1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter (optional)
1 cup apple sauce
2 – 3 tablespoons sweetener (molasses/syrup)
Water – depending on consistency
Replace some/all of the flour with oats, dash of salt, dried herbs or spices (just to make it smell a bit more interesting, I love cinnamon, so it is often added)
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F
- Prepare a couple of baking trays – I use the Silpat sheets so I do not grease the baking surface – you may need to, depending on the baking trays that you are using
- In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour/pulp)
- The optional heaped tablespoon is for you to snack on, while making the biscuits – this is the point where you may start snacking on the huge lump of fabulous peanut butter
- In a blender, add the peanuts/peanut butter, applesauce and sweetener. Blend until it is all combined and a think consistency formed
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl
- At this stage, you can add any optional ingredients you want to include
- Mix all of it until it forms a stiff cookie dough consistency
- Put flour on your work surface (see my tip about how to do this if you are not a pro (like me))
- Take some of the dough and roll it out into a square – about 50mm/2in thick
- Cut the cookies into the desired shape (see tip) and then spread on the baking trays. You can pack it closely, they do not spread much when baking
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
- Turn off the oven and leave the biscuits there. After about 15 minutes, flip all the biscuits over, so that you make sure they dry out on both sides. I usually leave the biscuits in the oven overnight to dry out properly
- Will stay fresh for 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container
- Type of flour: I use any flour that I have available at home. I usually have whole-wheat/brown bread flour available. I always try to buy less processed, more natural type flours that have very few or no preservatives and extra gunk added.
- Applesauce: We cannot buy applesauce in South Africa. I usually just put a large sweet apple in the blender with 1 – 2 tablespoons of water. When I don’t have apples available, I use pears or bananas.
- Peanut butter: Depending on what I have available, I either just make my own peanut butter or I use shop bought peanut butter. Check the ingredient list of peanut butter – many of the commercial brands add extra oil (even worse – palm oil), salt and more rubbish. You can use any type of nut/nut butter.
I once tried to make an oil free batch. I replaced the nut butter with a batch of homemade chickpea “hummus”. It was okay, but my dogs prefer the peanut butter versions.
- I have a very sweet tooth so I usually make the biscuits slightly sweet. Again, I use what I have available, molasses, agave/maple/barley malt syrup. I don’t usually add sugar (in powder form), it is usually some form of syrup.
- I love it when you watch all the foodie shows on TV and the baker takes a little bit of flour and very evenly and skilfully ‘dusts’ their work surface with flour. This hardly ever looks that good when I do it. I usually end up with blobs of flour on the counter and when I try to distribute it more evenly, I just make the situation worse….
I got myself one of those nifty hand-mug sifters (see picture – not sure what it is called). All I do is put a bit of flour in the sifter and then use it to ‘dust’ the counter with flour. I mess less, waste less flour and distribute the flour a lot more evenly on the counter… and I get to use my new kitchen gadget.
- I do have cookie cutters available to make all kinds of interesting shapes, but I just cut the cookies into blocks. It is much quicker to do and I have not had any complaints about the shape thus far
- November 2012 VVP post: Fig and walnut sourdough bread
- February 2013 VVP post: Ooey gooey chocolate pudding cake