Holiday gifts for cook’s best friend

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Sunday, November 4, 2012 8:40pm
  • Life

Before we get too busy or tied up thinking about and planning for Thanksgiving, not to mention Christmas, it’s not a second too soon to give some thought to homemade gifts for those hard-to-buy-for folks on our lists. The kind of special present that says, “I know what/who you love most.”

For dog lovers, one of those things has to be dog treats, so let’s start with this how-to from fellow dog lover Jennifer Benson, of Edmonds.

“I located an old recipe for liver cookies,” she says. “I believe the recipe came from Jane Anderson, a dog conformation/handling class instructor. These treats are a big hit with most dogs.”

Like everyone else who has used liver for dog goodies, Jennifer warns that these are not for the squeamish cook. Then, too, she says, a food processor should be used because a blender motor is no match for liver.

(Makes me wonder if the liver was partially frozen, or partially thawed if frozen, then sliced and chopped into small pieces, then processed, might that be the ticket for dealing with this essential ingredient? If you agree or have a better idea, the Forum will appreciate hearing from you … )

Back to Jennifer now, who adds, “Thanks for passing along the turkey jerky dog treats recipe (which appeared in the Forum column Dec. 6, 2010, courtesy of dog treat guru Rosemary Barrett over there in Freeland). My dogs are wagging their tails in delight when they gobble up those treats!”

First, we’ll have the liver cookies and then, in case you missed the jerky or have misplaced the recipe, we’ll have that again.

Liver cookies

11/2cups wheat germ

3pounds liver

11/2cups cornmeal


Turn wheat germ, liver, cornmeal and eggs into a food processsor and puree. Spread evenly over a very well greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into squares and, when thoroughly cooled, refrigerate or freeze.

Turkey jerky dog treats

1/2-1pound cooked turkey meat (no bones!), dark or white meat or a combination

Cut the turkey meat into thin slices with a sharp knife. The slices can be any size, from long to stubby, but they should be as thin as possible. Lay them out on a baking sheet (or two, depending on how many slices you have). Slide sheets into the oven on a rack placed as high as possible, but as far away as possible from heat source. Turn the oven to 150 degrees. If your electric oven won’t go that low, turn it as low as possible. Leave the oven door ajar.

Bake the treats for 2 hours, keeping an eye on the turkey to make sure it isn’t burning. (If it starts to brown, your oven is too hot. Turn down the heat or turn it off for 30 minutes, then back on.)

After 2 hours, sample a piece of the meat. It should be crispy or leathery (depending on how much fat was originally in the turkey — white meat tends to get crispier, dark meat more leathery), but jerky should not be moist or tender. If it’s not ready, let it continue to bake, testing every 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.

When the treats are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before letting your dog(s) have a sample. Keep servings to a few healthy treats each day. Store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.

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