Friday, June 10, 2011

The Wonderful World of Barley

Dan enjoys homebrewing when he can find a few free hours, and recently read about creative ways to use the mashed grains.  In the past, he had either filled up our kitchen trash can with them (sometimes not all the way cooled - hot trash does NOT smell good) or dumped them into my raised bed garden and our compost bin.  Side note: my grandmother used to dump her coffee grounds straight into her flower bed and always had the most beautiful plants!

So what did we decide to make?  Dog cookies!  It is getting easier to find quality dog treats in chain pet food stores, but I still like knowing exactly what went into these.  Considering the grains would have gone into the trash otherwise, it is certainly cost-effective.  Dan simply mixed together 6 cups grains, 6 cups flour, some peanut butter, a banana, an egg, and a lot of love.  The mixture has to be flattened onto one or two cookie sheets, pre-scored into squares or whatever shape your dog likes (the photo in the magazine indicated they used squirrel cookie cutters which I thought was hilarious), and then baked until they dry out.  Our 8 month old cute-but-very-bad rescue puppy is absolutely wild about them!

A word of caution: hops are poisonous to dogs, so make sure your grains have not come into contact with any.

Another word of caution.  You bake the treats in two stages.  Once at a high-ish temperature for an hour to get the mixture to solidify, then you re-score the cookies and put them back in the oven on a very low temperature for another 5-10 hours until they are crunchy.  Dan mis-read the last part of the instructions and thought they went back in for 5-10 minutes, so ours are a bit softer than they should be.  How dry and crunchy they get directly correlates to how quickly they will mold, so if you can store them safely I think the cooking time can be adjusted.

UPDATE:  Ours molded after about 5 days.  :-(

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