Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cheesy Beefy Treats

This was a rare, spur-of-the-moment idea for me. Completely Unplanned. I am not the type of person to make rash decisions.... Ever. When I do, they are once-in-a-lifetime. Like every several years. January 16th happened to be one of those days. Twelve years ago on that date, I was given Shadow Sunshine, my beautifully unique "blond" furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross, who died in June 2010. We were experiencing an electricity-outage tree-uprooting sort of wild Winter storm. It was definitely a "red-letter" date!! So, on Sunday, January 15th, 2012, at 8:30 PM, I made my spur-of-the-moment decision: Tomorrow afternoon, I was going to bake Rose some dog biscuits!! Yep. In honor of my past, present and future!! Despite the very fact that Rose has not finished her Christmas bacon/cheese-flavored Beggin' Strips, or chicken jerky.... Oh well!! We have a new tradition, now!! In my dog treat cookbook, there's this recipe created specifically for obese canines. However, Rose is not the least bit fat!! But why couldn't I alter their recipe? Use the ingredients we have? Besides, I knew that Rose would love these biscuits!! Plus, it was Shadow's "birthday". A memorable anniversary!! And I was feeling nostalgic. Regarding one Christmas when I baked Shadow a batch of cheesy beefy treats. Which we found somewhere on the Internet. That, unfortunately, I recycled. It was not a success with Shadow.... Oh, how I wish that I'd saved the recipe!! If only I could have foretold my future. Seriously. Messages would have declared: "You will own a 'food-lovin'' Beagle mix someday...." Sigh.... But if memory serves me right, this recipe's ingredients are quite similar to that long-ago discarded Internet find!! Happenstance? I do not think so!! There are no such things as coincidences.

First, the original recipe, for those with obese dogs:
Smaller Collar Diet Bone
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
(I followed every instruction correctly, even though it was changed.)
And now, for my "alternate" version:
(Rose rates it Four 'paws' way, way up!!)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup 2% reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon butter
(We like to eat the real stuff around here!!)
1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve bouillon cubes in warm water. Mix shredded cheddar cheese with flour. (Using a spoon!!) Add milk, margarine, (Butter!!) and beef broth. (Then, I beat the ingredients together with a mixer!!) Knead dough until firm, and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Stamp out with cookie cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (I baked 12 at a time for about 33 minutes but not all ovens were created equal!!) Makes 2 1/2 dozen. (I baked 28 bone-shaped treats, plus 3 "hearts", which were made with my leftover dough by cutting the ends of our bone, then carefully pulling together its bottoms!! Creative, huh?)
Bake bones on the middle oven rack. If your dough is sticky, apply a light layer of flour to your hands, the rolling surface and rolling pin. (I did.... As well as a few "sprinkles" of water. Something strange occurred, though. As I formed my dough, it was sitting in loose flour!! Perhaps I used too much? I created a ball, then rolled and rolled my dough. That loose flour was not clinging to it!! And this was gooey dough.... Difficult to "pop out" of my cookie cutter.) Because of variations in oven temperatures, monitor the cooking time for your batch of "Doggy Bones". Bake bones until the bottoms of the biscuits become medium brown, and adjust remaining baking times accordingly. (These biscuits seemed nearly impossible to determine whether or not they were done.... Which baffled me a little....They are not "bone hard", just crunchy. And their bottoms were never medium brown!! But I "test-tasted" one. They were done!! And delicious!!) If bones do not become "bone hard", bake bones for an additional five minutes or leave them in the oven as it cools. Store "Doggy Bones" in an airtight container. For extended supply, double your batch and freeze them!

Rose absolutely loves cheddar cheese. It is easily one of her favorite foods!! She also likes mozzarella, which I love!! Every morning, before our walks, I toss a small handful of grated cheddar cheese into Rose's bowl. This is how we usually begin our mornings. And how I persuade my little miss "Lazy Bones" out of bed!! Rose always knows when someone in our house is eating/cooking/baking with cheese!! Honestly!! So, not surprisingly, as I pulled out the Ziploc bag which contained cheddar cheese, she came running!! Then my good girl sat, eagerly awaiting. So, of course, I gave her some!! If memory serves me right, which it seldom ever does, these treats tasted just like Shadow's Christmas biscuits!! I revived an age-old memory.... Successfully!! Wow.... I am still touched by that concept.... Happenstance? I do not think so.

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