A Few of My Favorite Things with Katina Holland

Delectable Doggie Delights


Happy National Dog Biscuit Day!  Dog is truly man’s best friend.  A dog is always happy to see you, often eager to show it by jumping or barking in its excitement.  We love our dogs and they love us.  They are eager to play or go for a walk.  They are quick to comfort often licking our faces or just placing their head in your lap.  One way we show appreciation is by providing treats.  It’s one way we give our pets a little love or for a job well done.  

Dog biscuits are called such simply because dogs of yesteryear were usually fed hard bran bread or hardtack which were biscuits sailors took with them on long journeys.  According to Wikipedia, a man named James Spratt observed dogs feeding on such bread in London in the 1800’s and decided to come up with something specifically designed for dogs that could be their primary food source.  Shortly thereafter, he introduced his dog biscuits, made up of wheat meals, vegetables and meat and shaped into a square.  It was a dog biscuit but had such sustenance that a few biscuits were easily used as the meal for a dog.  By 1890, production had begun in the United States and was soon known as the food to give to show dogs.   His biscuits were known by many names such as Fibrine Biscuits, Dog Biscuits or Dog Cakes to name a few.

In 1907, American inventor Carleton Ellis came up with the idea of making dog biscuits in the now-iconic shape of a bone.  At the request of a slaughterhouse owner looking for something to do with waste milk, milk that is unsuitable for selling for human consumption, he devised the recipe for a milk-based dog biscuit. Ellis claimed, however, his dog did not like the biscuit — until he baked the biscuit in the shape of a bone.  In 1908, bone-shaped biscuits were released by the F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company and were called Maltoids.  It is unclear exactly when the name was changed, but sometime between 1915 and 1926 they became known as Milk Bones due to the high content of cow’s milk.  

In 1931, Bennet Biscuit Company was acquired by the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco). The dog biscuit was the only product carried over after the acquisition.  Over the next few decades, the Milk-Bone was expanded to include a number of different flavors, such as chicken and beef. The marketing focus was also shifted from Milk-Bone being merely a dog treat to a product that promoted cleaner teeth and better breath. Nabisco, under the ownership of Kraft Foods, sold the Milk-Bone rights over to Del Monte Foods of San Francisco, California, in May 2006.  It sold again to J.M. Smucker Company in 2015.  For years, Milk Bones dominated the market, but in the 1970’s other competitors started making dog treats. Today’s market has hundreds of options for dog owners to choose from.

After World War II, dog biscuits transitioned from being dinner for dogs to being used as a treat or even dessert.  Today’s dog biscuits have a much higher fat and calorie content than the original dog biscuits of Spratt’s time.  This has helped contribute to more obesity in dogs. There are also added colors and artificial flavorings and preservatives in the current dog treats on the market.

Did you know? Dog biscuits used to be military slang for army mattresses.  

The European Patent Register of worldwide patents includes 76 dog biscuit related patents.  These include a fire hydrant shaped dog biscuit baking tray, a biscuit “for controlling malodorous breath in dogs” and a deodorant dog biscuit.  

The largest dog biscuit weighed 617 lb and was made by Hampshire Pet Products in Joplin, Mo. on July 8, 2011. The biscuit was 3.8 ft wide, 19 ft long and 1.63 in deep. It required a total of 10 bakers to bake it. The biscuit was baked to celebrate the company's 10 year anniversary and when the attempt was over, it was broken into smaller pieces and distributed to dogs at the Humane Society in Joplin, Mo. AND on December 1, 2011, in Cedar Park, Texas, Alton Bollom broke a World Record by balancing 50 dog treats on the nose of Carson, also known as "Jenga Dog."

This week, I want to share some easy biscuit recipes for our four legged friends.  These days you hear all kinds of horror stories about what is or isn’t in your pets treats and food.  From treats made with rubber and plastic to treats made with the same ingredients as antifreeze, it’s hard to know what is truly safe when you pick it up from the store.  However, if you make your own, you will know exactly what goes into them.   Biscuits aren’t difficult to make and are pretty hard to mess up.  Since most of them are hard anyway, you really want to overbake most of them.  If you have older dogs and want a softer treat, for any recipe but the first one, roll the dough out thicker and don’t bake quite so long or bake them more like cookies, round and thick. Get out the cookie cutters and have the kids help.  Then, meet me in the kitchen for treats your dog will go bow wow over, I know my parent’s dogs love them all!


Easy Dog Biscuits

2 2 ½ oz jars turkey baby food

1 2 ½ oz jar beef baby food

9 Tbsp powdered milk or ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp.

13 Tbsp wheat germ or ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp—I can’t find wheat germ here in Okmulgee.  I get mine from Reasor’s in Tulsa.  BUT if you don’t want to travel just to pick up one ingredient, ground flax seed can be used as an equal replacement.  That can be found at Wal-Mart with all the flours.  

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mix all ingredients together and drop by spoonful onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.  These are a soft treat and great as an alternative if all you give your dog are hard treats or if your dog is older and the hard treats are too hard on their teeth.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator once completely cooled.  

Recipe from geniuskitchen.com.


Honey Banana Dog Treats

This particular treat can be made two ways as a hard biscuit or as a soft treat.  I will share both variations below.

2 cups water 

2 bananas, mashed

2 Tbsp honey 

1 tsp vanilla bean paste 

1 egg 

4 ½ cups whole wheat flour 

1 cup old fashioned oats, optional

1 tsp baking powder 


Soft Variant 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine water, mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl.  Stir in whole-wheat flour, oats and baking powder.  Beat dough with an electric mixer on medium speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 4 minutes.  Drop by spoonful onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake in preheated oven until cookies are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator once completely cooled. 


Crunchy Variant

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets.  Combine ½ cup water, mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl.  Stir in whole-wheat flour, oats and baking powder.  Beat dough with an electric mixer on medium speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add more water as needed to combine.  Most likely you will need more water, but this is going to depend upon how over ripe and how big your bananas are.  Bananas that are barely ripe will not have the same moisture that an overripe banana has.  So it is easier to start light on the water and add it a little at a time.  If you happen to add too much water, you can add more of the flour to even it out.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until no longer sticky, 5 to 8 minutes.  If your mixer is good enough or if you have a bread hook for your stand mixer, this step may not be necessary.  Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into mini shapes with your favorite cookie cutter.  Place dough shapes on prepared baking sheets.  Bake in preheated oven until cookies are lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cookies in the oven to completely cool.  If you have to use more than one pan (I made 3 pans worth), you can bake one pan at a time and then when all are done baking, place all the cookies back into the still hot oven after the last batch.  Also, after baking, if they are crisp enough for your dog’s liking, this step can be omitted.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit

2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use another type of flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat)

1 cup rolled oats

cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but it doesn’t matter which you use)

1 ¼ cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. If the dough is too sticky, you can add more flour.  Knead the dough well.  Again, with a good stand mixer, this step can be eliminated.  Roll out the dough into ¼ inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake on prepared cookie sheet for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool overnight.  

Recipe from dogtreatkitchen.com.


Simple Sweet Potato Dog Biscuits

1 sweet potato, you are going to need a cup so you can go with a smaller one unless you have a use for the rest or if you want to double the batch.

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour 

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce 

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prick sweet potato several times with a fork.  Heat sweet potato in a microwave on high until tender, about 6 minutes.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut potato in half and scoop flesh out of the skin into a bowl and discard skin. Mash potato with a fork or potato masher and transfer 1 cup to a large bowl. Save any remaining sweet potato for another use.  Mix whole wheat flour, applesauce, and eggs in the large bowl with the sweet potato until a dough forms. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and roll dough to about ½ inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter or cut dough into strips with a pizza cutter. Arrange cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until crisp, 35 to 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool overnight.  

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.


Milk Bones

¾ cup hot water

1/3 cup unsalted sweet cream butter

½ cup powdered milk

½ tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

3 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In large bowl, pour hot water over butter. Allow to melt most of the butter.  Stir in powdered milk, salt and egg.  Add flour, ½ cup at a time.  Mix well.  Knead until stiff dough forms or just mix in stand mixer.  Roll out to ½ inch thickness.  Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes.  Place shapes on prepared baking sheets and bake for 50 minutes.  Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container. 

Recipe from bullwrinkle.com many years ago.


Chicken Dog Biscuits

1 cup whole wheat flour

cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp canola oil

¼ cup chicken broth, low sodium

1 egg

cup milk

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk together wheat flour and cornmeal.  Add oil, broth, eggs and milk.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Roll out dough on a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. I used a stegosaurus just because I wanted the shapes to all be different for the photos and I didn’t have anything else dog related.  Gather remaining dough and roll flat. Cut as many dog biscuits as you can. I usually just place the last scraps of dough on the cookie sheet.  It is for the dogs and to be honest they don’t care what shape the treats are in.  Place all shapes on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  



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