The summer before last, on one of our first day-long hikes at Frontenac Provincial Park, Kirby was driving us CRAZY. He was eating EVERYTHING. Sticks. Leaves. Grass. Dirt. You name it, he tried to eat it. We couldn’t figure it out because other than the odd upset-stomach-grass-nibbling, he doesn’t usually do that. And then it dawned on us: he was starving!
We are SO good at packing ourselves nutritious and delicious trail-side snacks but it had not even occurred to us to bring something along for him. I mean, we hadn’t done very many hikes longer than about 3 hours at that point and Kirby had not needed to eat on those treks. So, we ended up splitting a few Nature Valley Oats and Honey Crunchy Granola bars with him and learned our lesson.
Shortly thereafter, I did my research, as I often do, and found several recipes for some trail-side dog snacks online. I love baking and often will find several recipes that I like and pick my favourite parts of each and create my own recipe, and this was no different. One recipe even boasted being human-friendly (in other words, it didn’t have cheddar cheese and chicken broth in it). And so I worked mostly from that recipe and with a few substitutions we had ourselves a delicious, nutritious, customizable, shareable cookie – a.k.a. The Dog-Friendly Trail Mix Cookie!
It’s important to note that we are one of those families you don’t want to invite to your dinner party. Bookworm is allergic to peanuts and despises pineapple and mango, but is otherwise not a picky eater. And Maman has a gluten intolerance – a real one, not a fad diet one. So you’ll notice that I’ve included the necessary substitutions to make this cookie enjoyable for all of us and not a ticket to the bathroom or the hospital.
Enough chatting already! Let’s head to the kitchen…
The first thing you’ll want to do is make some dog-friendly trail mix. There are some choices to be made based on your tastes, but do not stray from the list of choices as you’ll get into not-safe-for-dogs territory.
We mixed equal amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds…
…with equal parts of dried cranberries, dried wild blueberries and dried apple…
…and the same amount of coconut (desiccated – because that sounds terrifying!) and carob chips, because I can’t not have “chocolate” and that is dog chocolate.
Once that’s all mixed happily together, you can set it aside and start making those cookies.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together your oil and sugar. We used coconut oil because Kirby LOVES coconut oil (he came running into the kitchen as I spun the lid off of the jar) and coconut palm sugar to match. If you do use coconut oil, melt it first.
Add in your peanut butter, or in our case, homemade crunchy sunflower & pumpkin seed butter (or a store bought version if you’re more prepared).
Then you’ll want to blend in the mashed banana (a great way to use up those brown ones you threw in the freezer a while back…) and the egg white.
Next, mix in the flour, ground flax seed, cinnamon and baking powder. We use rounded measurements of baking powder for gluten-free baking, it helps to have about 10% more baking powder than a recipe calls for.
Stir in the oats. Now, anyone with a severe gluten allergy might not be good with oats, but they don’t bother me at all. You could always use brown rice flakes or another gluten-free alternative if need be.
And finally, you’ll want to mix in that dog-friendly trail mix that you set aside earlier.
Pack and roll the dough into tight little 1” balls and then flatten them on a cookie sheet.
Put them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes and that’s it! If you have a furry friend anything like ours, he should be drooling underfoot in no time at all.
And if you’re anything like me and like things neatly organized and succinct, here’s the recipe written out the way a recipe should be:
Dog-Friendly Trail Mix
Choose a variety of the following items and mix together in equal parts:
- raw pumpkin seeds, chopped
- raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- dry roasted peanuts, chopped
- dried cranberries
- dried blueberries
- dried apple, chopped
- dried mango, chopped
- dried pineapple, chopped
- dried banana chips, chopped
- coconut, shredded or flaked or desiccated
- carob chips
(*Other nuts and seeds, and raisins, are not safe for dogs.)
Dog-Friendly Trail Mix Cookies
- 1/3 cup oil (olive or coconut)
- 1/4 cup sugar (brown, coconut palm or date)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter or seed butter
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup flour (whole wheat, oat or gluten-free alternative)
- 1/8 cup ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup dog-friendly trail mix
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- In a large bowl, blend oil and sugar.
- Mix in peanut butter (or seed butter) and blend well.
- Stir in banana and egg white.
- Add flour, ground flax seed, cinnamon and baking powder and mix until well combined.
- Add oats and stir until a dough forms.
- Stir homemade trail mix into the dough.
- Grease a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper or tinfoil.
- Roll dough into 1” balls with your hands and flatten onto cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
This recipe makes about three and a half dozen cookies. You can store them in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months. We keep them in a bag in the freezer and just take out however many we need for our hike that day. Otherwise they might disappear…
Bon appétit to your and your little dog too!
Are there any trail-side treats you share with your four-legged friend? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!