Friday, April 4, 2014

Birthday Treats


In our last episode, Silver was an only dog, as my foster had gone to a home. Since then, I've fostered and adopted a new boy--Tigger, formerly known as Clem (raced as Flying Clemenza). He's a big, goofy, clingy dog. His current name--and he's earned it--can be attested to by anyone who comes to my condo.

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things.
Their tops are made out of rubber,
Their bottoms are made out of springs.

Dense rubber between his ears and a tendency to boing! around the house over the least little thing-- Yep, that's him. And he's orange--sorta--with black stripes (technically, he's a red brindle). SEGA has a meet and greet tomorrow morning, and tomorrow will be Tigger's 7th birthday, so I decided to make dog treats to take to the meet and greet.

I started with this recipe. I have an adorable, bone-shaped cookie cutter I bought once in a moment of optimism. (Time to 'fess up: I've got at least a dozen cookie cutters--bone, dog, dog house, stars, bells, Santas, sleds, wreaths, candles, etc. "Optimist" doesn't begin to cover it.)

I have all the ingredients on hand. (I wasn't paying attention at first, and the first ½-cup of flour was all-purpose flour; but I woke up, and the last cup was whole wheat.)

Everything went together well. The dough wasn't runny or too dry. I floured everything I was supposed to flour (and a few things I wasn't--I have a tiny kitchen with no counterspace--prep work is done on top of the stove), rolled out the dough (maybe not enough flour on the rolling pin, but not too bad), cut the shapes with the cookie cutter.

And then I tried to pick up the shapes to put them on the parchment paper. It was like trying to pick up bone-shaped blobs of peanut butter with your fingers and keep the shape. I tried pulling the excess dough from around the shapes so I could get to the shapes better. No. Not happening. So I went to Plan B. (Of course there's a Plan B. If I'm cooking, there has to be.)

I grabbed a teaspoon and starting spooning out the dough. Filled one cookie sheet (small kitchen, small oven, small cookie sheets), quickly put parchment paper on a second sheet and filled it. Started to put the smallest sheet into the oven on the bottom rack. You know how you use parchment paper because stuff doesn't stick to it? Well, it doesn't stick to anything, either, and it started sliding and deposited a couple of cookies on the bottom of the stove. (The preheated stove.) I got them out, smushed them back onto the parchment sheet and got the cookie sheet on the bottom rack, then put the larger cookie sheet on the top rack. (My preheated oven lost about 75 degrees during this.) Next time, I may put a dab of cookie dough between the cookie sheet and the parchment paper in an attempt to glue the paper into place. I baked both sheets for 25 minutes, and now the cookies are sitting in the stove to cool and get crunchy.

The recipe said to space the cookies on the parchment paper with 1"-2" of space, so I expected the cookie dough to flatten and spread as it cooked. Well, no. My round teaspoons of dough are hardening into round, brown lumps that look like, um--- Well, dog owners can guess what these look like. I doubt the dogs will care, but next time, I'm taking a fork to the tops of these things before I put them in the oven. (By the time I thought of flattening these with a fork after they cooked, the treats were too solid to smush. But now I know why bakers flatten the tops of cookies with a fork.)

I wound up with a half-can of pumpkin left, most of a jar of unsweetened applesauce, and most of a 32 oz carton of chicken broth. I'm freezing two ice trays of broth--more-or-less 2 teaspoons of broth per cube--and I've refrigerated the pumpkin and applesauce. But tomorrow afternoon (after the meet and greet) I might bake another batch of these to use up the pumpkin. The treats are freezable, and I can pull out some now and then for the dogs. If I make more, I'll skip the whole floured pan and rolling pin and cookie-cutter part. I'll go straight to dropping them with a teaspoon, mashing the tops with a fork, and maybe baking them all on one cookie sheet now that I know they can sit closer together since they aren't going to spread out.