‘Molly & Murphy’ biscuits get tails wagging

Nothing tastes better than something hot off the cookie sheet — especially for a dog or a horse. Along with homemade freshness, Chris Hamilton adds all-natural ingredients when he bakes up a storm to produce his "Molly & Murphy" Irish horse and dog biscuits.

"My house smells wonderful — of rosemary and cinnamon and rolled oats," said Mr. Hamilton, the self-described owner, baker and biscuit maker. "I bake the biscuits daily and I use all-natural ingredients, never any chemical preservatives or animal byproducts. I personally test each batch for texture, taste and quality."

"Oh, yes, I eat them," he added.

The biscuits, which come in a variety of flavors and are named after Mr. Hamilton's two yellow Labs, are now being sold at the Village Market, the Historic Christmas Barn at 146 Danbury Road, the Georgetown ' Market, the Weston Farmers' Market, Paw Print Market in Darien, Earth Animal in Westport and Marc's Rowayton Market in Rowayton, among other retail locations.

"We're off to a good start," said Mr. Hamilton, a Wilton native who now lives in Trumbull. The biscuits come in two sizes: a "Murphy" size for large dogs; and a "Molly" size for medium and smaller dogs. The varieties range from wheat to carrot, blueberry, stout, gluten-free potato, and the latest biscuit: coconut.

"They are made with organic coconut oil, which gives dogs and horses a boost in energy, increased metabolism, healthy coat and breath, improves digestion and absorption and is less toxic than fish oil," said Mr. Hamilton. The other ingredients in his biscuits are also given the same kind of nutritional consideration.

"Another example is rosemary," he said. "Rosemary is used as a natural preservative but is also a promising anti-cancer agent and an anti-inflammatory. A recent study found that rosemary produces enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory."

So how did he get into the business?

Mr. Hamilton, a lifelong dog lover, said he was "not satisfied with what I was feeding Molly and Murphy and neither were they. The 'hard tack' treats were either too small or too large to eat in one sitting and included ingredients I could not decipher or found unappetizing. There had to be a better alternative."

So, last year, the graphic designer and sculptor, who had never baked before, borrowed his mother's mixer and "jumped in at the deep end. I set out to create a biscuit worthy of Molly and Murphy."

Mr. Hamilton said he has "always enjoyed the creative process" and found baking to be not unlike sculpting, another tactile art. "After researching recipes, and numerous trials and countless batches, I created a delicious biscuit that Molly and Murphy were delighted with," he said.

To further taste-test it, Mr. Hamilton gave it to a finicky Labradoodle, who "loved it," he said.

The dog biscuit business expanded to horse treats at the urging of a customer who owned horses, Mr. Hamilton said, and he soon found "myself selling them at horse shows ... They are a big hit with the horses."

Both types of biscuits in all varieties are available online at his website.

Mr. Hamilton said he is now experimenting with a pumpkin or sweet potato biscuit, and never knows where the creative inspiration for a new flavor will strike. "People are welcome to email suggestions to me," he said.

He is also planning a possible line of dog collars, coats and leashes; along with T-shirts for their owners. Because of his success, he said he will probably need to hire an employee to help with the baking and retailing. "It's time to expand," according to Mr. Hamilton.

"The only thing better than an all-natural Irish dog biscuit is a long ride with the top down," he said.

Information: mollyandmurphy.com, or 203-220-8389.