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Crunchy Gluten Free Dog Treats

Crunchy Gluten Free Dog Treats

Homemade crunchy pumpkin peanut butter gluten free dog treats have just 4 ingredients and make a great hostess gift for your friends with furry friends!

Image of a crunchy gluten free dog treat being eaten by a dog.

Why make your own gluten free dog treats at all?

Meet my dogs 🐶🐕🐶

I have 3 dogs. They’re all rescues, and their names are Ralphie (the little guy in the photo just above), Friday (the black dog in the photo below), and Gracie (in the video; she was on a field trip the day I took the still photos!). Since I work from home, they are my only coworkers, my mostly companions. My heart. 

They are not well-trained. They are extremely food-motivated, especially since there are so many of them so they know if they don’t eat something, someone else will. They are sweet (mostly) and loving (always) and my house never smells bad because I’d rather die. 

When we do and don’t treat our dogs

We don’t give them many treats, because I’m neurotic about making them fat. That is never a word that I would use to discuss anyone else in my house, for better or for worse.

I grew up with an unhealthy relationship with food and I have two daughters who are perfect whatever their bodies look like. “Fat” is not a word we like to use at all. But my veterinarian tells me what my dogs’ healthy weights should be, and I consider it my responsibility to keep them healthy.

My husband’s new office is dog-friendly, so he’s been bringing the dogs to work one at a time. They take the commuter train, sleep on a very fluffy bed his coworker bought for them, and they get some treats. They’re in heaven. 

If my dogs are going to get treats, I’d much rather know exactly what is in them and make sure they’re all healthy ingredients. No binders, no additives, no colors. Just pumpkin, peanut butter, eggs, and bean flour. 

Plus, they get really excited when they can smell that their homemade goodies are baking in the oven. And I think that these homemade dog treats make a great host gift for the holidays when your host has a dog. I challenge you to find a cheaper, higher impact, lower cost gift! 🎁

I make gluten free treats specifically because my whole house is gluten free, and so are my dogs. They like us all, including my gluten free son, and I never wanted to hinder my son’s relationship with his pets. 

Image of raw, shaped crunchy gluten free dog treats with cookie cutter.

Is gluten free flour safe for dogs?

According to the American Kennel Club, whole grains, peanuts, pumpkin, and eggs are all good for your pup. Simple carbs like white rice aren’t bad for your dog, but they’re also not good for him. 

You could almost certainly make these treats with one of our rice-based all purpose gluten free flour blends, but I’d really recommend against it. Those flour blends aren’t nutritious, which is fine as a sometime-food for humans.

This whole blog is packed with tons of sometime foods, and I make no apologies for it! But I don’t like to feed things like that to my dogs, since they are just as happy with something that is good for them. And feeding them well is my responsibility alone. 

Image of Friday the dog guarding his gluten free dog treats.

Using a gluten free bean flour blend in these treats

When I first started out in 2004, I made my own bean flour blend with a recipe from Bette Hagman, the Gluten Free Gourmet, the very first gluten free baking pioneer. I was so grateful that I could make anything at all. When I found Bob’s Red Mill bean flour blend, now sold as its gluten free all-purpose baking flour, I hit the jackpot since I didn’t have to blend my own.

When I first learned the wonders of baking with rice-based all purpose gluten free flour blends way back in 2005, I vowed never to go back to baking with bean flour-based blends. They’re healthful, but they don’t taste or even smell good during baking. 

But since my dogs don’t mind at all, and the bean flour blend is cheap and healthy for them, I buy it whenever I’m baking for them. The ingredients are:

  • garbanzo bean flour
  • potato starch
  • tapioca flour
  • whole grain sorghum flour
  • fava bean flour

I’ve searched high and low (online and offline) and I can’t find the bean flour blend ratio that I used back then. I’m fairly certain it contained garfava flour (a blend of garbanzo and fava beans), sorghum flour, and potato starch, but I don’t remember any more than that. And I’ve long since given away all of Bette Hagman’s cookbooks. 

Bob’s Red Mill bean flour blend is readily available in the U.S. in nearly every larger grocery store and natural food store. I’ve found it on the shelves in nearly every city I’ve ever visited (yes, I look just out of curiosity). If you’re outside the U.S., I imagine there’s another brand of bean flour-based blend that you can use? 

Image of one crunchy gluten free dog treat with a dog in the background.

Ingredients and substitutions

These treats are already dairy-free, and have no additives like xanthan gum, or even any baking soda or baking powder. Here are some notes about the ingredients that might be helpful:

Eggs: There are two eggs in this recipe, so you should be able to replace each of them with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I’m always hesitant to replace a major ingredient in a 4-ingredient recipe, so proceed with caution!

Peanut butter: I used no-stir peanut butter in this recipe (the kind that doesn’t separate in the jar), since that’s all I ever buy. But this is one instance where I think the drippy, truly all-natural kind would probably work quite well. 

Instead of peanut butter, I’m sure you could use another nut butter, like almond butter or cashew butter. For a nut free alternative, try using sunbutter—but expect to have to alter the amount of flour you use. 

Bean flour blend: This is one instance where I highly recommend buying Bob’s Red Mill brand original gluten free all-purpose baking flour (affiliate link, but feel free to shop around!), their original gluten free flour blend. Their 1:1 flour blend is a rice flour-based blend, but you want the bean flour blend. Scroll up for a complete discussion of using bean flour in this recipe.

Image of jar of crunchy gluten free dog treats with a dog's paws on either side.

 

Image of crunchy gluten free dog treats raw, baked and being eaten by a dog.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 45 small treats

Ingredients

1/3 cup (80 g) canned pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons (32 g) peanut butter

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (210 g) Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour (the bean flour blend), plus more for sprinkling

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. 

  • In a large bowl, place the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs, and whisk vigorously to combine well. Add the 1 1/2 cups of flour, and mix until well-combined. The mixture will become quite thick and relatively stiff.

  • Sprinkle a flat surface with more flour, and place the dough on top and sprinkle the top lightly with more flour. Knead until smooth. Roll out the dough into an oval shape about 1/4- to 3/8-inch thick (about 1 cm), moving the dough frequently to avoid sticking, and sprinkling as necessary with more flour. Using a 2-inch wide rectangular (ideally bone-shaped) cookie cutter, cut out shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. They won’t spread at all during baking, so they can be relatively close together on the baking sheet. Gather and reroll scraps, and cut out more shapes. Using a toothpick or small dowel, poke two holes on either end of each treat. This will help the treats crisp in the oven.

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden brown on the edges and set in the center, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Feed to your dog! Leftovers can be stored in a sealed glass jar at room temperature until someone is a very. good. boy.

  • Adapted heavily from Damn Delicious.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Cranberry Cornbread

Gluten Free Cranberry Cornbread

This tart and sweet gluten free cranberry cornbread, made with our Jiffy-style mix as a base, is sure to become a new holiday favorite. 

Closeup image of just baked gluten free cranberry cornbread.

How to make this gluten free cranberry cornbread

This isn’t a one-bowl recipe, but it’s close. It’s a two-bowl recipe. 🥄🥄It’s worth that extra bowl, though. 

Since cornbread is meant to be a bit denser than a classic quick bread, we don’t go through the whole process of beating the butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy first. All purpose flour doesn’t (and shouldn’t) add any flavor to baked goods, but cornmeal adds texture and flavor.

The tart and sweet cranberries make the bread beautiful and flavorful, and the buttermilk softens the texture just a bit. Thick slices of this bread would make a lovely addition to any holiday plate.  

To make this bread, whisk the wet ingredients (buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs) together vigorously before combining them with the other ingredients. In a large bowl, place the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt), plus the granulated sugar, and whisk them to combine. Then, add the cranberries so they get coated in those dry ingredients. That helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the bread during baking.

The batter should be mixed just until it’s combined. The corn has its own sort of (perfectly safe) gluten, and if you work it too much, the cornbread will be tough. 

Images of batter for gluten free cranberry cornbread.

Grinding yellow cornmeal into more of a corn flour

My standard cornbread recipe is our old fashioned naturally gluten free cornbread, made only with coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. That classic recipe calls for no all purpose gluten free flour at all. It has tons of texture, and has rounded out many soups, stews, and chili meals in my house over the years. 

This recipe for gluten free cranberry cornbread is a completely different kind of recipe, based on our gluten free Jiffy-style cornbread. Since this recipe is baked in a loaf pan, and not as muffins, it’s important that the batter be light enough to rise without adding an excessive amount of baking powder or too many eggs. 

Much like I refuse to buy more than one form of gluten free oats, preferring to grind my own a little bit for quick-cooking oats or a lot for oat flour, I won’t buy more than one type of cornmeal. I buy only coarsely-ground yellow cornmeal from Bob’s Red Mill brand (make sure you buy the variety that’s gluten free!).

When I want something finer, I grind it myself in a blender or food processor. Cornmeal is coarsely ground corn, and corn flour is finely ground corn. So I take my coarsely ground yellow cornmeal, and give it a spin. 

Cornstarch is a powder made from only the starch in the endosperm of the corn grain. I’m a baker not a chemist 🔬so I buy cornstarch. 😂

Overhead image of just baked gluten free cranberry cornbread

How tart do you like your cranberries?

This is a very simple recipe that doesn’t call for a stand mixer—or even a handheld mixer. A handheld whisk, a couple bowls, and a spoon are all you need.

We’ve covered why I’m asking you to grind your cornmeal a bit more. Now I’m going to ask you if you’d consider tossing your fresh cranberries in a couple of tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar before adding them to the cornbread batter.

Fresh cranberries are suuuuper tart. That’s why dried cranberries, unlike raisins, almost always have added sugar. In our classic recipe for gluten free cranberry bread, we don’t add extra sweetener to the cranberries, but we slice them in half—and that recipe has more sugar in the batter. 

If you try tossing your cranberries in granulated sugar, you’ll find that it simply doesn’t stick without first coating them in a sugar syrup. Rather than going through all that trouble here, I like to toss the fresh berries in just a bit of very finely-ground confectioners’ sugar. It sticks just enough to soften the tartness of the berries. But it is an entirely optional step.

Overhead image of partially sliced gluten free cranberry cornbread.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: There are two types of dairy in this recipe, and they should both be replaceable. You should be able to replace the buttermilk with half plain non-dairy yogurt and half non-dairy milk. You can also use that same combination with dairy-containing ingredients if you can have dairy but just don’t have buttermilk on hand.

You should be able to replace the melted butter with an equal amount, by weight, of my favorite vegan butter, Melt brand, or even with Earth Balance buttery sticks. If you do use Earth Balance, I’d recommend reducing the milk by 2 tablespoons and only adding them back if the batter seems too thick (based upon the look of the batter in the photos and video in this post). 

Eggs: There are two eggs in this recipe. They should be able to be replaced with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) each. 

Corn products: There are two different types of corn products in this gluten free cornbread: cornmeal and cornstarch. If you can’t have corn at all, since this is a cornbread I’m afraid I don’t think this is an appropriate recipe for you.

I have heard of replacing cornmeal with ground millet, but I haven’t ever tried it and am very skeptical. If you do try that replacement, you can replace the cornstarch with arrowroot or potato starch.

Please see the discussion above about the yellow cornmeal in the recipe, which is ground again into a finer consistency. The bread still has texture, just not as much. 

Cranberries: You can (and I often do) use fresh cranberries that have been frozen in this recipe. Like frozen blueberries, frozen cranberries have a tendency to bleed into the rest of the batter. It’s a problem of appearances only, as it does not affect the taste at all.

If you’re using frozen cranberries, keep them frozen until moments before you are ready to add them to the dry ingredients in the recipe. Remove them from the freezer, measure them out, and toss them with the (optional) sugar right before adding them to the batter. That will help minimize bleeding. 

 

Images of gluten free cranberry cornbread dry ingredients, raw batter, and baked bread.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 loaf quick bread

Ingredients

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1 cup (132 g) gluten free yellow cornmeal, ground in a blender or food processor to a finer consistency

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar, plus about 2 tablespoons (about 24 g) more for sprinkling

1 cup (100 g) fresh whole cranberries, plus about 2 tablespoons (about 15 g) more for sprinkling

2 tablespoons (14 g) confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside. In a medium-sized bowl, place the buttermilk, butter, and eggs, and whisk to combine well. Set the wet ingredients aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. In a small bowl, place the cranberries and optional confectioners’ sugar, and toss to coat the berries in the sugar. Add 1 cup of the cranberries to the dry ingredients and toss to coat. Add the buttermilk mixture to the large bowl, and mix until just combined. The mixture will be thick but soft and not at all stiff.

  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth into an even layer. Using a sharp knife or other sharp edge, score the loaf by slicing 1/4-inch deep horizontally, from one short end to the other. Scatter the remaining 2 tablespoons cranberries evenly on top of the loaf and press them down about halfway to ensure they adhere to the batter. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly on top of the loaf.

  • Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf in the oven and continue to bake for about 15 minutes or until the top of the loaf springs back when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Coffee Cake Muffins

Gluten Free Coffee Cake Muffins

These gluten free coffee cake muffins with everyone’s favorite crumble mixed into the batter and baked on top make any breakfast special. You can’t beat that tender crumb and nubby topping!

Image of inside of gluten free coffee cake muffin with tender inside crumb visible.

A muffin is not a quick bread loaf

When I share a recipe for a quick bread loaf or cake, I’m often asked if the recipe can be made as muffins or cupcakes. When I post a recipe for muffins or cupcakes, well, you get the idea.

But a muffin is not a quick bread loaf and a cake is not a cupcake—and I promise I’m not trying to be difficult! This is also not something that’s unique to gluten free baking at all. The same holds true for conventional baking.

Just so we’re all on the same page, the term “quick bread” refers to baked goods that are made with chemical leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda, not yeast. Much of baking (muffins, cakes, cupcakes, quick bread loaves) falls into this category. The difference is in the shape and size. 

A muffin batter can be less stable than a loaf of bread, since it’s being baked in individual wells in a muffin tin. Batter and dough bake in the oven from the outside in. When making a quick bread loaf, the baking process takes considerably longer to reach the inside of the baked good.

Sometimes, a recipe designed to be made in a a muffin tin will work well enough as a loaf or in a cake pan. But it’s hard to predict, so I never like to promise! That’s why this recipe for gluten free coffee cake muffins is completely separate from our recipe for sour cream gluten free coffee cake.

overhead image of gluten free coffee cake muffins raw in muffin tin

How to make these gluten free coffee cake muffins

As much as I love a one-bowl recipe, these muffins just don’t lend themselves to that method. If you’re like me, once you understand the general idea of a recipe method, you can basically figure out the steps for yourself. 

We begin with a simple crumble recipe that is made first so that it has time to chill in the refrigerator. It’s made with brown sugar and shortening that have been mixed well together into a paste with a fork, to which flour and a pinch of salt are added. 

To make the muffin batter, the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon) are whisked together and set aside. Then, butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla are beaten well in a large mixing bowl. The dry ingredients are added in batches, alternating with buttermilk. Since the batter is quite thick, the final third of dry ingredients should be mixed by hand. 

Finally, most of the refrigerated crumble (reserving about one quarter to use as a topping) is folded into the muffin batter. The batter is divided among prepared wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and the remaining crumble topping is scattered on top.

closeup image of raw gluten free coffee cake muffin batter in muffin tin

Why most of the crumble is mixed into the muffin batter

Everyone’s favorite part of coffee cake is the crumble. It’s a brown sugar shortbread-like mixture that bakes crisp tender and is best when paired with the most tender, simple yellow cake

When baked into a cake or quick bread loaf, the crumble pieces are thick and generous. For these standard-sized muffins, rather than a simple gluten free muffin with a crumble topping, most of the crumble topping is mixed into the batter. 

The crumble pieces in the batter hold their shape during baking, adding flavor and extra pockets of sweetness to the cakes themselves. The crumble pieces on top add that crisp-tender texture that let you know it’s a real coffee cake. The best of everything!

Gluten free coffee cake muffins baked in muffin tin image from the side to see crumble and texture close up.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: The crumble topping is naturally dairy-free. There are two types of dairy in the muffin batter and should both be replaceable with dairy-free alternatives.

You should be able to replace the butter in the muffin batter with Earth Balance buttery sticks, which always seems to be the easiest butter replacement to find. If you do have my favorite vegan butter made by Melt brand, I would use that. 

In place of the buttermilk in the muffin batter, I recommend using my favorite buttermilk replacement which is great if you’re dairy-free, and also great if you simply don’t have buttermilk on hand. Buttermilk can always be replaced with half plain yogurt (non-dairy plain yogurt if you’re dairy-free) and half milk (non-dairy milk if you’re dairy-free). 

Egg-free: Since there are two eggs in this recipe, you should be able to replace each of them with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). Since they’re pale muffins, you may see some colored chia flecks in the muffins. 

Cornstarch: If you cannot have corn, try replacing the cornstarch with arrowroot or potato starch.

Shortening in crumble: I use shortening in the crumble because it melts more slowly and is more stable as it bakes. Shortening has very little to no moisture, so the pieces of crumble that are mixed into the muffin batter hold their shape during baking. That keeps their texture and flavor intact in the finished muffins.

 

These gluten free coffee cake muffins with everyone's favorite crumble mixed into the batter and baked on top make any breakfast special.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

For the crumble
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons (48 g) non hydrogenated vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) kosher salt

For the muffin batter
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

Directions

  • In a medium-size bowl, place brown sugar and shortening and mix until creamy and well-combined. Add the flour, xanthan gum, and salt and mix until coarse crumbs form. Place the crumble in the refrigerator to chill while you make the muffin batter.

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside. In a medium-sized bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside.

  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter and granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until very well-combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and beat to combine. Add half of the buttermilk, and beat to combine. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining buttermilk, beating to combine in between. Add the final dry ingredients and, if using a hand mixer, mix by hand just until combined since the batter will very thick and will climb up the beaters. If using a stand mixer, beat until just combined. Remove the crumble topping from the refrigerator, crumble about 3/4 of the mixture into the batter and fold in with a spatula until the mix-in is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 prepared muffin cups, and smooth the tops of the batter with wet fingers. Scatter the remaining crumble evenly on top of all of the wells, and press gently to help the crumble adhere to the wet batter.

  • Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (about 20 minutes). Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2011. Recipe altered to make muffins larger and more tender; all photos and video new.

Love,
Nicole

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