Our dog Roscoe gets a treat a couple times a day as a vehicle for his pain medicine. He's 9 years old but has recently decided he wants to act like a puppy again. :P (which is pretty elderly for a Rottweiler / German Shepard mix). We've been giving him his medicine using these blueberry muffins, but our local store stopped carrying them.
We're pretty picky about what he eats, so most treats are out of the question for him. Plus, he's on a diet since he's been gaining more and more weight in old age! Instead of buying something else, I set out to make him some healthy sweet potato based treats. :D
I'm using brown rice flour in these treats because it's high in fiber, protein, iron and niacin - as well as other minerals! The sweet potato is also high in fiber, and contains loads of vitamin A. The eggs add a little fat and protein. The apple sauce doesn't do too much but help bind everything together, but it's a healthy way to do it. :)
In the next version of these treats, I think I'm going to add in some unsweetened dehydrated blueberries since he loves those and they're good for him. ^_^
[ I modified this recipe to make these treats. ]
Step 1: Ingredients + Tools
- 1 sweet potato (should weigh 1 to 1.5 pounds)
- 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 eggs
Make sure that your applesauce has no added weirdness or sugar. The label should just show apples, water, and some sort of acid to preserve color and freshness.
Make sure to store your extra brown rice flour in the fridge or freezer. Otherwise, it goes rancid fast!
- oven set to 350 F / 175 C
- a rimmed baking sheet
- parchment paper
- large bowl for mixing
Step 2: Cook the Sweet Potato and Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C.
I prefer to do this in the microwave because it's really fast.
Wash and dry the sweet potato and put it on a microwave safe plate. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork, and then pop it in the microwave.
Microwave for 5-7 minutes or until you can squeeze it and it feels pretty soft. You can also insert a paring knife into it to check doneness - if you don't meet any resistance, you're good to go!
Cut the sweet potato in half and set it aside to cool. You want it to cool down enough so it's easy to handle and you don't burn yourself.
If you don't have a microwave:
Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C. Prepare the sweet potato by washing, drying and pricking it with a fork. Place onto a square of foil and put that directly onto a rack in the middle of oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until tender.
Drop the temperature down to 350 F / 175 C once the sweet potato is baked.
Step 3: Mash the Sweet Potato
Remove the skin from the sweet potato and transfer the flesh to a large bowl. Mash with a fork or whatever else works. :)
Step 4: Add the Apple Sauce & Eggs
Add in 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce and stir well to combine.
Then, add in the eggs. At this point I normally break out the whisk to get this all mixed well. A metal whisk is best!
Step 5: Add in the Brown Rice Flour
Add in one cup of flour and mix everything together using a spatula until there are no dry spots left. (I poured the brown rice flour into the measuring cup when I measured it out, instead of spooning the flour into the cup.)
Now add another cup of flour and mix again.
Add in the last 1/2 cup of flour and mix. After this, the dough will be soft but not wet. It should come together easily and not be crumbly.
If it's still wet, add in more brown rice flour, 1/4 cup at a time until it forms a nice soft dough.
Step 6: Roll the Dough Into Balls
Brown rice flour makes a very soft dough, so it's much easier to roll the treats into balls and bake them that way.
The dough will stick to your hands a bit, but it's not bad. If it bothers you, you can always try spraying your hands with a little cooking spray.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and start rolling the dough into balls!
I'm making the treats into balls about 1-1.25 inches wide, which is perfect for a big dog like Roscoe. You may want to match the size of treats your dog already enjoys.
Step 7: Bake the Treats
Now we'll bake the treats in a 350 F / 175 C oven.
How long you bake your treats will depend on how big you make them!
I baked mine for about 45 minutes. Smaller treats will take less time, so start checking them at 20-25 minutes.
The treats should be firm and dry on the outside, but remain slightly soft inside. :)
Step 8: Cooling and Storing the Treats
Let the treats cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a wire rack. Let them cool completely and then put them into a container or ziploc bag. :)
I prefer to keep these treats in the fridge. They stay good in the fridge for quite a while as long as you completely cool them before putting them into a container! You can freeze them as well.
Hope your pups enjoy as much as mine did! :D