Let me just come out and say this: I will show my love to you through food. If I'm feeling particularly friendly, you may just get a batch of cookies or a plate of pasta because you've made me happy recently (velvety, cheesy, sun-dried tomato creamy pasta happy). Good food, to me, is the ultimate expression of emotion. The inverse is true, too. You know I'm mad at you when the coffee is cold and french toast is burnt. Mmmhmm, I go there. Believe me, pancake flipping, vegetable sauteing, pastry baking me is my daily goal. And who makes me that absolutely really, really happy? My rabbits, of course!
Ryo and Shortcake. My duo bundles of love.
So naturally, as this Valentine's Day approached, I wanted to show these two a little special momma-loving. I opened up my copy of Red Door's Just Desserts cookbook, and decided to make them Bunny Treats (pg. 118). They're incredibly easy to make, and so worth it, too! The printed recipe follows, my rendition after:
- 1 small carrot puréed
- 1/2 banana, mashed until really creamy
- 1 Tbsp honey (raw please!)
- 1/4 cup rabbit pellets, ground
- 1/4 cup ground oats, ground finely in a coffee grinder.
Mix the puréed carrot, banana, and honey in a medium bowl. Add pellet powder and ground oats. Mix until blended. Knead in your hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll out the "dough" in 1/4-inch thick layers between sheets of plastic wrap. Cut into small cookies. Place cut shapes onto a parchment paper covered cookiie sheet. Bake at 325˚F for about 30 minutes (make sure they are not browning too much). Turn off the heat and let the cookies sit in the warm over for an hour or so.
After I read the recipe (First rule of baking! Always read through!), I balked at the idea of honey in cookies for my rabbit. I mean, pure sugar, seriously? That can't possibly be in their natural diet! I called my trust-worthy resident rabbit expert, Vanessa.
"Hey Nessa, should rabbits be eating honey? I'm reading this recipe and I can't possibly bring myself to feed them these if that's bad for them!"
"No worries, a little bit is fine for them, just don't overfeed them and all will be well!" (You can hear her smiling over the phone, it's a remarkably comforting trait of hers.)
I'm a big fan of Chicago's Green City Market downtown, so I had some raw honey on hand from there. I also had pre-ground oat flour (my dog suffers from Celiac's Disease, so his homemade treats are all wheat-free) - ingredient two no problem. I had to go to PetSmart to get rabbit pellets, but after that, I was in business.
I pulled out my food processor, and blended my carrots till near mush, added the banana, scraped down the sides, and puréed that until practically smooth. I added the other ingredients until the mixture resembled a paste, for a lack of a better descriptor.
From there I used a small scoop to portion out cookies, and used my hands to roll them into balls, and my fingers to pat them flat. I followed the baking instructions as listed, and they came out beautiful.
Shortcake had the best reaction: He took off running underneath the papasan for five revolutions, and came to stop at the edge of the carpet mat. Ryo attempted to hide his cookie, as Shortcake can be a food-thief.
So on this Valentine's day, with love in my heart and buns snuggled by my feet, all I have to say to my sweetheart's is this: OM NOM NOM.