Wednesday, 13 December 2017

{RECIPE} Layered Strawberry Christmas Gummy Dog Treats


These strawberry layered gelatin gummy treats are healthy and deliciously festive looking, but  they're also begging to be made with watermelon, don't you think? Maybe when it's in season later this summer. It would be a great summer party recipe to adapt for human kids too. I must confess that (watermelon cuteness not withstanding), if I was remaking these festive coloured gummies, I might skip the layering and just make separate coloured gummy shapes to save some effort since strong colours in layers like this can start to bleed into the white after a few days or when frozen/thawed so the layers in these are prettiest when fresh...not that the dogs care...hehe.  Not into gummies?  We have a baked marbled red, white, and green strawberry mint treat recipe coming up soon, so stay tuned for more delicious ideas!


Volumes are easily scaled and you can mix/match as you please, making a layered treat, layered shapes, or single flavours. If you want a precise measure of a specific pan/mold capacity, you can do a test pour from a measuring cup of water to measure the volume required to fill and scale the recipe for your batch of treats. If you're using shaped pans, keep them simple for easy breakage-free removal.  If your mold(s) are a bit floppy, place them on a firm moveable surface (I use a cutting board) so you can get them to/from the fridge more easily.

Layered Strawberry Christmas Gummy Dog Treats

Strawberry Layer:
1/2 cup* cold water
3 tbsp plain gelatin powder
1/4 cup finely pureed strawberries
1/4 cup yogurt
Optional: Sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon
Optional: Red food colouring or natural tint (I used beetroot powder)

Milky White Layer:
1/2 cup* cold water
3 tbsp plain gelatin powder
1/2 cup yogurt

Green Layer:
1/2 cup* cold water
3 tbsp plain gelatin powder
1/2 cup yogurt
Optional: A small dash of finely pureed fresh mint (larger chopped/dried may settle, but still ok for flavour)
Optional: Green food colouring or natural tint 

*Note: You can use more water and less yogurt if you prefer, just keep the total liquid ratio at 1 cup per 3 tbsp of gelatin. More starter liquid can be easier for blooming.  I also like to use a pan instead of a pot, as it's easier to sprinkle the larger surface area to hydrate and bloom.


Strawberry Layer: Prepare a mixture of pureed berries and yogurt and set aside. Measure water into a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with gelatin powder and let sit to bloom/gel. It will be very thick. Gently stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Take care not to shortcut with high temperatures or overheat, as this can reduce the setting strength of your gelatin. Check that your liquid temperature is below 50C (120F), then add to the yogurt and berry mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. This will be a natural pinkish colour, so augment to make it red with food colouring or a natural tint, if you wish.  Pour into a glass pan (cut and slice) or silicone molds (shaped gummies). If you get little air bubbles on the surface from pouring, you can pop them before chilling. Chill to set while you prepare the next layer, which will need to be added when the starwberry layer has set to a gentle touch so that the liquids don't mix, but before it has fully set and cured in order to adhere the layers - just like making layered jelly for humans.

Milky White Center: Measure water into a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with gelatin powder and let sit to bloom/gel. It will be very thick. Gently stir the mixture over low heat, taking care not to overheat as noted above, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Check that your liquid temperature is below 50C (120F), then add to the yogurt and stir to thoroughly combine.  Pour gently over the prepared strawberry layer.

Green Layer:  Measure water into a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with gelatin powder and let sit to bloom/gel. It will be very thick. Gently stir the mixture over low heat, taking care not to overheat as noted above, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Check that your liquid temperature is below 50C (120F), then add to the yogurt and stir to thoroughly combine. This will be a natural white the just like your milky layer, so augment to make it green with food colouring or a natural tint.  Chill to set fully before slicing into small treats or removing from molds. 

Note: If you prefer, you can bloom and then heat your gelatin and water for all layers at once, and extract the 1/2 cup measure for each layer incrementally keeping your reserved gelatin over low heat so that it doesn't gel during the hold over times whilst layers are setting. 



Tips and Tricks:
  • Making these gummies in stages with water and yogurt is a little extra effort, but keeping the yogurt a lower temperature preserves the probiotic value of in the yogurt.  They will "reactivate" from frozen, but are destroyed through cooking.
  • Remember to go natural or take care when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like yogurt for your dogs – xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs. If your dog is sensitive to dairy, check out our other gummy recipes for alternative ideas. If you are using a thick-style yogurt, you may find it helpful to water it down for easier mixing.  I also find measuring the yogurt and letting it sit to warm a bit while I prep the rest of the gummy base can be handy for smoother blending than straight cold yogurt.
  • 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. 
  • Mint (and other) extracts often contain alcohol and other dubious doggy ingredients, so I don't use them in my treats. I have fresh mint in the garden and it can be steeped, pureed, chopped in small quantities for treats or used dried.  Use some of the yogurt if needed for more liquid and/or volume to puree. 
  • These are firm gummies, since I like to supplement my dogs with gelatin, especially my senior.  If you prefer, you can use less gelatin for a jigglier jelly treat. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger/weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
  • Yield will depend on your treat size and thickness, but volumes are easily scaled.  If you want a precise measure of a specific pan/mold capacity, you can do a test pour from a measuring cup of water to measure the volume required to fill.
  • If you're using shaped pans, keep them simple for easy breakage-free removal. I find that flexible molds work best as stiff molds can be tricky for removal. Supple silicon molds are tricky to move when full of liquid, so place of a portable surface to help you get things into the fridge without mess and stress.
  • Once set, they are now ready to eat, but for an even better "real" gummy texture/feel, after you have taken the treats out of the mold (or cut into pieces from your pan), return them to the refrigerator on a plate/tray uncovered to dry for a day before normal container storage.
  • These treats should be kept refrigerated and can be frozen for longer storage, although this can affect consistency. If gummies are frozen, I find that defrosting in the fridge uncovered on a plate or dishtowel helps to make sure that they thaw semi-dry instead of getting a little slippery. Freezing causes gelatin to separate which tends to bleed out some liquid content in addition to condensation factors. 

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes hereRemember, 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.


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