Every year we grow a lot of winter squash. Usually butternut squash because it is resistant to vine borers and squash bugs. I always gave the cooked skins and seeds to our chickens and/or goats, and they gobbled them up. I started putting an extra “chicken and goat” squash in the oven any time I was baking or roasting something. Then I decided to make some less messy treats, and these cookies were the result. Remember that these are TREATS, I’m not saying they are anything else. These cookies are ridiculously easy, and depending on how you handle the ingredients, entirely edible by humans, as well as goats, horses, dogs and chickens. My barn cats even grabbed a few.
Since I posted a link to this article on some horse sites, I have received some feedback from horse people who said these cookie treats were “not a good idea” for horses. You can feed your horses as you believe correct, but I give these to my horses and they LOVE them. They enjoy them so much, we get the evil eye if they don’t get their cookie, and I feel perfectly fine about feeding them these treats. After all, there are only TWO ingredients, and both can be organic, as you choose to grow or purchase them. Here’s a link to a site regarding natural feeds for horses:
1 or 2 butternut squash (you can use any winter squash or pumpkin, or even canned pumpkin, but fresh is better)
Whole grain flour (I use this excellent organic sunflower/millet/flax/wheat flour from Great River Organic Milling – purchased in 25# bags off Amazon, I get it for me, not for goats, but I share. You can add oatmeal, cornmeal, brown rice flour, dried apple, whatever!)
– Heat oven to 350F
– Wash the squash because you will be using the WHOLE thing. Stab the squash a few times to facilitate cooking and allow steam to escape.
– Place prepared squash in a roasting pan and roast the squash in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork. It should be easy to mash/smash/tear apart. Alternatively, you can cut the squash into chunks to roast it, or you can steam the squash, but roasting concentrates the natural sugars, no juice escapes into the steaming water, and the end result is naturally sweeter and tastier.
– When squash is cooked, remove stem if there is one, cut squash in several pieces and let it get cool enough to touch.
– When cool, slop the whole squash into a large bowl, skin, seeds and all, (unless you are making these for a dog, then you may want to leave out the seeds) and don’t forget the juice that seeped out of the squash during cooking – it is sweet!
– Add some flour. Start with half a cup, mixing into the squash, adding more flour until you have a dough that is slightly sticky, but can be formed into a squishy ball. There is no “correct” amount of flour to add, so you just have to wing it. The dough should have the texture of a classic “drop” cookie, not too stiff, not so sticky it can’t easily be formed into individual cookies.
– Drop by tablespoon or form tablespoons of dough into balls and place onto a greased cookie sheet. (coconut or palm oil is perfect) Flatten dough slightly with damp or oiled hands.
– Bake in a 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This temp. and time always works well for me and results in a cookie that holds together very well but is still soft, not crunchy, although there is nothing wrong with crunchy cookies, but you can buy loads of crunchy treats for your animals. Our goats/horses/dogs love the soft ones.
– Cool on a rack. Store in a bag or container. They will keep nicely for a week and extras can be refrigerated or frozen. I’ve never had problems with cookies going bad.
My goats LOVE these. LOVE. The soft cookie doesn’t crumble when they chew it so there is little waste. You can add any extra ingredients as long as the dough holds together. My chickens love them too, and so do my horses and dogs. I think they are ok, but I’d prefer a little brown sugar and cinnamon in them. But they are NOT for me. NOT. Hmmmm…
Maybe I’ll make another batch.