What I love about a dog treats you make yourself with good quality ingredients is you can actually try them out and see what’s in store for your dog. For some people there’s still a mental barrier when something is labeled “dog treat”–my husband wouldn’t try them. But I did, and… they were pretty tasty. You don’t have the salt, sugar and spices that litter processed food for humans, so you have to pull back on the desire to add a little something extra. They don’t need it. Toasty, nutty pumpkin seeds, sweet pumpkin and a faraway hint of smoky bacon. Woof.
Pumpkin Bacon Dog Treats (makes about 70 small 1-1/2 inch or 4cm treats)
1 cup (240ml) millet flour (not whole grain millet)
1 cup (240ml) barley or rye flour
4 Tbsps. (60ml) bacon drippings–about 6 strips worth
1/2 cup (120ml) plain canned pumpkin–NOT pie filling*
2 eggs, room temperature, separated
2/3 cup (160ml) pumpkin seeds
*I know, I know–a 1/2 cup or 4 oz. of something that typically comes in a 15 oz. can is an annoying amount, but pumpkin freezes well. You can freeze the pumpkin in ice-cube trays and thaw out what you need over time. You could also make a really big batch and give them away to friends. Or you could swap out the pumpkin for a little cooked sweet potato or carrot. Or you could make these.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Mix the egg whites with a little room temperature water.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or on the baking sheet at 325F/165C degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool. Use either a food processor or knife to chop the cooled seeds until they’re fairly fine but still have a little irregular texture.
In a food processor or in a bowl, blend/whisk together the two flours.
Add the bacon fat and pumpkin and blend/mix to combine.
Add the egg yolks. If using a food processor the mixture will come together in a ball. If using a bowl and spoon, mix until thoroughly combined and press the mixture together in a ball.
Lightly dust a board and rolling pin with a little barley or rye flour and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch. This is not a sticky dough.
Baste the top of the dough with the egg white. Add a layer of the ground pumpkin seeds.
Place the parchment or foil from the baking sheet on top of the dough and run the rolling pin lightly over the top to help the seeds adhere.
Using a cookie cutter or a small glass, cut the dough into biscuits. You can also use a knife and just divide the dough into squares.
Transfer the biscuits to the lined baking sheet.
Brush any loose pumpkin seeds to the side.
Squish any remaining dough together, roll and repeat, using the remaining pumpkin seeds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. At 10 minutes, flip the biscuits over and brush the unseeded side with egg white.
After 20 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cookies sit in the hot oven with the door closed until the oven and biscuits have cooled completely. This might take a while–two hours or so depending on the temperature of the room.
Store the cooled biscuits in an airtight container or zip bag. The biscuits should last for about a week at room temperature if kept in a cool place. They’ll last for several weeks in the fridge and several months in the freezer.