When Suki was younger she was super picky. The local pet store used to just hold their container of treats out to her so she could look through and choose which treat she wanted. More often than not she’d choose a charcoal biscuit. It wasn’t until recently that I thought about making my own though.
Okay, right off the bat I did not think these were going to work on the first try. I half expected them to crumble to pieces just from being looked at too hard. But as I was putting the cooled treats into a jar I dropped one on the floor and it actually held together, which is really impressive.
Charcoal is generally given as a breath freshener and digestive aid. Whether it works or not isn’t entirely certain. The idea is that the porous nature of activated charcoal binds to malodorous smells and bacteria. You can find activated charcoal powder at most health food stores, either loose or in capsule form. Just make sure it’s food-grade. Too much charcoal can also cause stomach cramping, so limit your dog to one or two small treats to play it safe. As with everything feed in moderation.
These aren’t just gluten and dairy free, they’re completely grain free. And not grain free in that they use chickpea/garbanzo flour, which has nearly the same carbohydrate content as wheat and is just as hard to digest. Nope, these use my much beloved coconut flour. So they’re grain free, dairy free, nut free, bean free, and low carb. And organic, if you use organic ingredients. I’m just racking up the points.
The dough is a bit crumbly and sticky, which is why I wasn’t sure they would hold together when baked, but it’s firm enough to cut with a cookie cutter. I used a tiny bone shaped cutter, but these would be adorable as little hearts. The dough needs to be gently pressed out of the cookie cutter so less complicated shapes are best. A few of the bones broke in half while being transferred, but I didn’t sweat it because Suki doesn’t care and I usually feed them to her broken in half anyway.
What do they taste like? I don’t know, they’re for dogs. Just kidding, yeah I definitely ate one out of curiosity, and they taste like what you’d expect a charcoal dog biscuit to taste like (which is mostly nothing, unless dry counts as a flavour) with a tiny hint of coconut in the background. If you don’t eat a lot of sugar the coconut flour gives them a hint of sweetness, so for dogs they probably taste nicely sweet. For the average person though they won’t be sweet at all. These are entirely for dogs, so don’t make these thinking you’ll want to share them. I know, I know, they look so tempting though.
Jokes aside, dogs seem to like this kind of stuff. Suki definitely does. I had very few photos of her to choose from because she quickly grew impatient, launched herself into the air and snatched the treat right out of my hand.
Grain Free Charcoal Dog Biscuits
1/2 cup Coconut flour
2 tbsp Activated charcoal powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1 tbsp Unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 Large egg
1/2 cup Water
Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds, dried peppermint, or dried parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (including any optional ingredients).
3. Add melted coconut oil and whisk into dry ingredients. Add egg and whisk in until combined.
4. Add water and stir until a rough dough forms. Let sit 5-10 minutes for the flour to absorb the water.
5. Press dough onto a piece of parchment paper until roughly 1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to press out shaped biscuits, or cut into squares with a knife or pizza roller. Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment paper. If using a cookie cutter gently press the stuck cookies out of the cutter.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and allow biscuits to cool on the sheet.
Can be stored in the cupboard for a few days. Freeze treats for long-term storage.