Puppy love

Posted on April 2, 2007 by S

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Today, 2 April, our younger golden retriever, Alix, celebrates her fourth birthday. Friends have observed that we have a softer spot for our second dog. I guess I can’t help it. Alix is smaller than her older sister and inevitably gets less than her half of the back seat in the car because Sascha has developed a slick manoeuvre that ensures that she spreads herself across two-thirds of the space before she lets Alix jump up behind her. Alix doesn’t bark or make alarm-raising noises, so when her favourite soft-toy is forced to endure a lobotomy under the expert paws of Dr Sascha (which has happened innumerable times), I tend to only notice the catastrophe when it’s far too late; when the soft, fluffy innards of her teddy have been scattered across our bedroom. (Inspired by the Simpsons, we’ve taken to naming them Ted1, Ted2, etcetera; we must be up to Ted20 by now.) I’d walk into a room and find Alix either anxiously but silently rushing back and forth around the room, unable to “rescue” her teddy herself, or quietly nursing her headless toy.

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Don’t get me wrong, I adore Sascha too. But they’re both very different dogs. Alix unquestioningly follows Sascha’s lead. When we take walks, she automatically stops in order for Sascha to catch up. She prefers to walk alongside Sascha rather than the person who is walking her (yes, it’s bad training on our part). If Sascha were to break loose, she’d know how to find her way back. Alix wouldn’t.

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Last year, when Alix broke loose from her handler while CH and I were away, she didn’t find her way home. We knew that it wasn’t something she was likely to be able to do, which really made the possibility of being reunited with her pretty slim. I continue to be grateful that a wonderful gentleman named Andy picked her up, took care of her, and made an effort to get in touch with us when he heard about our lost dog posters. We can’t thank you enough, Andy! We deeply appreciate your generous act of kindness. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate the fact that Alix has given us so much joy for nearly four years. Thank you.

alix_mom_small.jpgThis year, as a birthday treat I tried out a couple of recipes from the only cookbook we have for doggy edibles: the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. Ginger’s Fourth of July Snaps were reasonably easy to make. They smelt very much like gingerbread and I loved the wee bit of added height the addition of baking soda gave them. The Poochie Pleasin’ Pretzels, however, didn’t quite turn out as promised (you’ll notice that they look more like breakfast rolls). It’s not a recipe I am planning to revisit any time soon. However, one of the best things about baking for your dogs is that they’ll adore just about anything you give them. They won’t tell you what they think you could’ve done better, and they’ll gobble up every last bite of your labour of love.

Ginger’s Fourth of July Snaps
Adapted from the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook
Makes 30 three-inch dog bones

¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup molasses (I prefer unsulfured molasses)
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup water
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground ginger
¼ cup raisins*
¼ cup chopped pecans**

*RAISINS ARE CALLED FOR IN THE ORIGINAL RECIPE, BUT SINCE THERE IS EVIDENCE LINKING THE INGESTION OF RAISINS WITH ACUTE RENAL FAILURE IN DOGS, YOU MIGHT WANT TO OMIT THEM.

** MOST NUTS ARE APPARENTLY NOT GOOD FOR YOUR DOGS. THEIR HIGH PHOSPHORUS CONTENT IS SAID TO LEAD TO BLADDER STONES. MACADAMIA NUTS ARE PARTICULARLY BAD FOR YOUR DOGS.  THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND TO CAUSE LOCOMOTORY PROBLEMS. YOU MIGHT WANT TO OMIT THEM TOO.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Combine the oil, molasses, honey and water in a bowl. By pouring the oil into the bowl first, you reduce the likelihood of the molasses and honey adhering to the bowl. Similarly, before you measure out the molasses and honey, coat your measuring cup or spoon with a thin layer of oil. This ensures that most of the molasses and honey will slide into the bowl rather than stick to your measuring tool. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, raisins and pecans (if using, see notes above) . Whisk to blend evenly before pouring the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Stir to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough. It should come together easily. (A word of caution: this dough is meant to be pretty dry, as you can tell by the cracked surface of the finished product. Don’t be put off by it’s crumbliness. It will hold its shape.) Shape it into a ball. Cut a quarter of the dough and keep the rest of it under a damp kitchen towel. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thick then cut out shapes. The scraps can be gathered into a ball and rolled out again. If the dough feels a little too dry, spray a thin mist of water onto it before you knead it a little and roll it out. Repeat with the remaining dough.

I refrigerated the cut dough for 15 minutes before placing them on trays lined with Silpats. Bake for 15-20 minutes (don’t let them get too brown). Let them cool on a rack before storing them in an air-tight container.

DogPretzels_small.jpgPoochie Pleasin’ Pretzels
Adapted from the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook
Makes 14 to 16 large un-pretzel like rolls

1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (45 degrees Celsius or 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit). In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. The instructions are sketchy here. I added the honey after the yeast, stirred it and let the mixture stand until fine bubbles appeared on the surface of the liquid. Add enough flour to make a soft dough (I added all 4 cups). Knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth.

Here, the recipe proceeds directly into shaping the pretzels (which I did). But I suspect that allowing the dough to rise, punching it down and letting it rise again before I shaped them might’ve given me more pretzel-like results.

Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of dough for each pretzel. Using your palm, roll dough out into a 12-inch long, ½-inch thick rope. What they don’t tell you is that the dough is really sticky and having wet hands might make it a little easier to handle. Or perhaps additional flour might’ve helped? I’d just read in a Reinhart book that sticky dough won’t stick to wet hands, so I wet my hands. But I have to say that the dough was difficult to roll out. I rolled it between both palms (the book ambiguously states, “using the palm of your hand”, so I could’ve done it wrongly), letting gravity help it along.

Shape into pretzel twists and place on a baking tray lined with a Silpat. Brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes (I basically took them out when they turned golden brown). Allow to cool on a rack before storing in an air-tight container.

About Su-Lyn Tan

Su-Lyn is Aun's better half and for many years, the secret Editor behind this blog known to readers simply as S. Su-Lyn is an obsessive cook and critical eater whose two favourite pastimes are spending time with her son and spending time in the kitchen. She looks forward to combining the two in the years to come.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Swee San April 3, 2007 at 12:05 am

    wow, I’m going to try this when I go back home!

  2. Clare April 3, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Those look good enough to eat (for humans)! Love your blog, btw.

  3. Julia April 3, 2007 at 6:04 am

    Oh what beautiful dogs. Happy birthday Alix!

  4. J April 3, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    hi, brando has been in an awfully good mood all of yesterday and today thanks to your awesome treats – i think it’s as much because they are scrumptious as because he knows aunty mom’s TLC went into them ;-)

  5. daffy April 4, 2007 at 12:21 am

    This is making me feel guilty! I shall have to bake something for Moka too, perhaps with this coming Easter as an excuse. And what’s with the rabbit brand molasses? =)

  6. leela April 4, 2007 at 12:43 am

    those look great, but raisins and grapes can actually be toxic to dogs, so i would leave those out. probably such a small amount would not cause problems, but it’s better to be on the safe side…

  7. S April 4, 2007 at 12:56 am

    Hi Leela

    I am aware that grapes are toxic for dogs but didn’t realise that raisins are actually worse. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Max April 4, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Your dogs are beautiful! Happy Birthday to Alix! We have pet treat recipe on the site I work for (Recipe4Living.com) and I’m always meaning to try them for my pups. Your dogs are very lucky! :)

  9. tara April 4, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Cutest. Subjects. Ever. Seriously; you should put a warning on this one for an overload of adorable puppies. Bonne Fête Alix.

  10. Allen April 4, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Cute pups! I just started baking for my dog this past weekend — ‘peanut chicken chunk’ dog treats. My shiba loved them. I’ll have to give these recipes a try too as I’ve been looking for more ideas. Thanks!

  11. cin April 4, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    awww, it sounds like Alix has a lovely, sweet personality. hmmm, I wonder if cats would like these…

  12. Nha April 5, 2007 at 4:37 am

    How sweet! The dogs are beautiful and very lucky to have owners like you and CH :)

  13. Carol April 5, 2007 at 5:14 am

    Since real pretzels are boiled before baking, I wonder if that would improve this recipe a bit?

  14. almost vegetarian April 5, 2007 at 9:25 am

    With all the concern these days about pet food, making your own is becoming a better and better option. And these lovely biscuits look like a very good place to start, indeed. Cheer!

  15. wei April 5, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    they look beautiful!–the treats and the dogs!One silly question to ask:where do i find the dog bone mould?

  16. Chicken Recipes April 5, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Those Pretzels look sooo good!

  17. S April 5, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Carol,
    Yes, boiling them would probably improve them, but I think I’d rather just use a proper pretzel recipe then :)

    Hi Wei,
    Not a silly question at all. I bought my trio of small dog bone cutters from Tangs at Vivo City.

  18. Sammi April 8, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    I just love your blog to pieces, thanks for such a great read – I have added it to my blog so I can return often :) I can’t believe I came across this recipe after searching for what seems like eons for the perfect doggie treat!, Thanks again, Sammi

  19. Amy April 11, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Awwww your poochies are so cute! The doggy biscuits are adorable too! Your pups must have been very happy. I’ll have to keep these recipes in mind when I get a dog. :)

  20. Lynn April 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    awwww, happy birthday sweet Alix. I’d have a soft spot for her too if i were you. i almost cried when I read about her teddy being decapitated…

    I’ve been cutting flour in bread recipes from the US by at least 1/3. The all-purpose flour in the US contain much less moisture than flour in Asia. It’s less critical for cakes if you just bake it a little longer, but bread doughs can turn into a mess.

  21. Ann May 19, 2007 at 2:07 am

    I am very happy to find good recipes and pictures for my dog…. its all good here!

  22. derek June 17, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    wow, i think my 5 doggies will love me even more when they get their paws on all these food….

  23. chubbs June 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    your dogs are beautiful! we own a golden retriever (unlike yours, ours is light golden) and a border collie, so it was just heartwarming to see your pics.

    today i went to tangs at vivo city to look for the dog bone cookie cutters, but the staff said they never ever carried this shape. couldn’t find it anywhere in the store. is there a brand for your cookie cutters? do you know if they available at the tangs orchard? it’s tough finding dog bone cookie cutters anywhere in singapore!

  24. S June 21, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Hi Chubbs

    Arrgh! I hate it when sales assistants say that. I wasn’t hallucinating; I did buy them at Tangs in Vivocity. I am sorry you weren’t able to find them.

    There is no brand indicated on the cutters and I’ve never seen them anywhere else. (I’m sorry, but I haven’t been to Tangs on Orchard Rd recently, so I don’t know if they stock them there.) You might want to try your luck on the Internet. The largest dog bone cutter I have was one I made CH buy for me in New York a few years ago.

    I will let you know if I spot any in Singapore!

  25. vaax June 27, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Hey everyone,

    I bought my dog and bone cookie cutter from this shop at Bukit Timah. Here’s their link http://www.b-i-y.com/. They are both $3.50 each. The internet sells them much cheaper, but after you add on the shipping costs, the price isn’t too bad. :)

  26. Lita July 14, 2007 at 7:38 am

    hi! love your dogs. They are lovely. My husband and I are animals lovers and we own 5 dogs (2 black labs and 3 chihuahuas) + 3 cats. Anyways, I saw in your ginger cookie recipe you’re using pecans. I would highly recommend to omit them from the recipe. To my knowledge, we’re not suppose to give nuts to dogs. Two of our Chihuahuas were dying (literally) because I stupidly gave them macadamias. I didn’t know they were dangerous to dogs until it was a bit too late. We found out from the vet that nuts are generally dangerous to dogs consumption especially macadamias. Thank goodness the vet was able to save our chihuahuas. But ever since then I never feed my dogs nuts anymore. It’s not worth the trouble. Just an advise.
    Other than that, we really enjoy all your postings. Thanks for the wonderful writings!! Say hi to your puppies :)

  27. S July 14, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Dear Lita

    Thank you for letting us know! I will update the post.

  28. yan April 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Hi, are unsulphured molasses the same as dark brown sugar or generally, sugar?

  29. S April 12, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Hi Yan, molasses is a by-product of sugar production. It has the texture of honey. In Singapore, I get it at Market Place.

  30. yan May 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    hey i just read the reply . thanks alot. will let u know if it’s successful!! =))

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