Wednesday, 20 December 2017

DIY Christmas Ornament Dog Treats without a Plunger Cutter

We've been sharing lots of different holiday treats in our barkmas bonanza this year, including cute Christmas stamped design plunger treats like our gingerbreads, carob and peanut butter treats, and spicy apple treats, but we though we'd throw in a bonus post hot on the heels of our last plunger treat post of the year for those of you who'd love to make a patterned treat but can't get your hands on a set of Christmas plunger cookie cutters.

Stamping the patterns into your treats, whether with a patterned plunger cutter or by hand, is an easy way to dress up special treats. The finished treats look fancy but are still "plain" enough to be freezer-friendly and perfect for pressie packaging or pocket portability for treats on the go. Since you can use any roll-and-cut dough with no extra toppings, it's also a great way to make a fancy treat for a dog with allergies or special dietary sensitivities using your favourite safe recipe. There's no icing set/dry time and much less mess, which is great if the kids are helping out. You can also use these techniques to make human cookies, if you'd like! 

Patterned plunger cutters are easy and fast; however, one big advantage (other than not needing special cutters) to stamping/stencilling your own designs is that you don't need to be quite so fussy about the treat dough consistency or rolling thickness as you do with stamping plungers since there is no pattern release to worry about.  Yay!

Prepare your treat dough and preheat the oven according to your chosen recipe. Any roll-and-cut treat that your dog enjoys will do, but a smooth dough without any textured add-ins (like coconut, flax, etc) is recommended for the nicest impressions.  Roll the dough, then cut to shape and place on a prepared baking sheet. Stamp with decorative patterns.  Bake according to your recipe and allow to cool thoroughly before serving and storage.

These Christmas ornaments shown in this post were created with simple round biscuit cutters and decorated by stamping/pressing patterns onto the surface using other readily available items from my kitchen, like we did with our fun and fancy Easter Eggs.  For the ornaments, I used a pasta/pastry wheel for the wiggly lines, toothpicks for the dots (point end small, blunt end large), and added a few extra shapes with other cookie/fondant plungers from my baking stash. Similar simple stamping techniques would also be very cute with Christmas Tree treats.  For a little extra pizzaz on the ornaments (and added flavour) I reserved a bit of the dough when cutting the ornament shapes and mixed in some carob powder to create the brown toppers.

Since you are not restricted to a ready-made stamping plunger cutter for size and thickness, hand stamped treats are also easier to custom size to suit you and your pets. I usually break my treats into smaller pieces (blog pics not withstanding) no matter what size I bake so that my spotty piglets can get the perception of more individual treats for the same calorie intake. Everyone's definition of bite sized is different after all...just ask Oli! :)

We have a Christmas post for you every weekday between now and the start of our offline holidays, with toys, decorations, treats, and more!  Stay tuned for holiday fun, and we'll see you again tomorrow!

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes here. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what's suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.

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