Wednesday, 20 December 2017

{RECIPE} Apple Cinnamon Christmas Dog Treats

Our go-to doughs for plunger-style treats use peanut butter, but I wanted to include a plunger recipe in our holiday posting line up that was peanut-butter free for those of you who have nut-free homes or dogs with peanut butter sensitivities.  These treats are made with a simple applesauce based doggy dough with a festive sprinkling of (optional) holiday spices. Yum! 

Apple Cinnamon Christmas Dog Treats

1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsalted/unseasoned chicken stock (or water)
A sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon and/or ginger (optional)
Approximately 1 + 1/4 cup rice flour (or equivalent substitute flour) plus additional flour for rolling

Preheat over to 180C.  Combine applesauce, egg, stock/water, and spices in a mixing bowl.  Incrementally add flour, mixing into a cohesive workable dough.  The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual ingredients (especially the applesauce) and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of water, a small amount of olive oil, or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed. Rest dough (optional). Roll, cut into desired shapes, and place on a prepared baking pan. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with shape/size, so keep an eye on the oven. Cool before serving and storage.

To use plunger-style cutters instead of traditional cookie cutters, you need to ensure that you have a nice cohesive dough (see adjustment tips above) that will roll smoothly without cracking, take an impression cleanly, and release from the plunger without difficulty.  Low fat doggy doughs are tricky.  Thickness is vital for plungers meant to create impression designs - too thick and things get squishy and hard to release cleanly, too thin and the design may not take well. I find it easiest to roll in smaller batches for a uniform thickness to plunger depth, and you can double check the depth by pressing on the back of your lifted cookie (second image above) to ensure that there is no gap between the dough and the plunger.  When working with plungers and stamps, any rising/leavening ingredients in the dough are a risk to the design as they can puff during baking. There are lots of human cookie options without leaveners, but I find most of my doggy doughs are either too sticky, too soft, or too textured to be good candidates for detailed plunger designs so I have used egg in this dough. It works for me, and to help maintain appearances I also bake short/light and then dehydrate.  Either way, these smell great and the dog's don't mind if their treats look less than perfect!

Tips and Tricks:
  • My chicken stock is simple unseasoned broth saved from preparing homemade food. You can also buy stock, but where we live it's hard to source ready-made unsalted /low-sodium stock.  You can use water instead if you prefer - the applesauce and spices have a tempting scent/flavour on their own. Skipping the stock will make these treats LO vegetarian.
  • In addition to being doggone delicious and fragrant, cinnamon offers some great health benefits to dogs (and people); however, it's not suitable for everyone. Pregnant/nursing dogs in particular should not be given cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the recommended variety for dogs, if/when used. 
  • The treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.
  • Resting and/or chilling the dough before rolling and/or after cutting your shapes on the pan before baking is optional as this is a low fat dough, but it can help with handling and/or holding shape, just like human cookies.
  • Any baked treat can be left in the cooling oven for a slightly crisper texture or, if you want to get things extra crunchy without overbaking/burning, you can place the baked treats in the dehydrator (fresh from the oven or later) and dry them out.  These will be a little less like a homebaked cookie and a bit more like a crunchy biscuit.  Totally optional, of course!

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes here. Remember, treats are for spoiling your pup in moderation. Some dogs have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt, have a chat with your vet.

We have a Christmas post for you every weekday between now and the start of our offline holidays, with toys, decorations, treats, and more!  Normally we'd say see you again tomorrow, but we have a bonus post coming straight after this so stay tuned for more holiday fun coming right up!

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