Monday, 18 June 2018

{RECIPE} Cranberry and Herb Gelatin Gummy Dog Treats

It is early winter here, and autumn harvest time had cranberry on my mind (and in my freezer...mooohahah). Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here, but these would be doggone delish for a special Thanksgiving doggy treat. :) They were also a great opportunity for me to put my "suspended solids" gummy experiments to the test with a combination of chunky berry puree and light floating herbs - details below on how to beat the sinking/floating problem that often plagues non-soluble add-ins during gummy making!  Woohoo!

Cranberry and Herb Gelatin Gummy Dog Treats

3/4 cup cold water or low sodium stock
3 tbsp plain gelatin powder
1/4 cup pureed plain cranberries (see tips and tricks below)
1 tbsp dog friendly herbs (optional)
Beetroot powder or red colouring (optional to boost natural colour)

Measure cold water/stock into a suitable pot/pan. Tip: I've like using a pan instead of a pot when prepping gummies. More surface area makes for easier blooming. Sprinkle the surface with gelatin powder and let sit for approximately five minutes or longer for the gelatin powder to bloom/gel.  While waiting, pre-chill molds (optional) and prepare the cranberries. Puree your cranberries and combine with herbs (I used a combination of dried rosemary and parsley) in a convenient refrigerator safe container which has enough room to hold the additional liquid of your gelatin mix when ready. Set aside while you prepare the gelatin. Place your bloomed gelatin pan on the stove and 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. Remove from heat. Pour from the warm pan into the cranberry mixture. Add optional tint to boost colour, if desired. 

When the gelatin and cranberry mixture is warm, the chunks of fruit and added herbs won't stay distributed in the gelatin mixture.  To get a suspended solids gummy, as shown, you will need to cool the gelatin down to just above its setting point so that it is thick and viscous enough to hold the floating/sinking pieces distributed through the gummy.  Slowly, stirring often, allow the mixture to cool and thicken.  You can do this at room temperature, but it will be faster if you use the fridge (or an ice bath, if you prefer). When the mixture has thickened enough, spoon/pour the finished gelatin mixture into your molds.  Chill to set fully before removing from molds.  

Tips and Tricks:
  • Cranberries may be used fresh or frozen (thawed). Being less juicy than many fruits/berries and thick skinned, they can be difficult to puree so feel free to use a little less cranberry and add a touch of water/stock to the fruit for processing. 
  • To help with getting solids to stay suspended and distributed in gummies, I like to pre-chill my molds as well as spoon incrementally, filling the molds a spoonful at a time in layers to give the almost gelled mixture a little help holding onto its suspected solids. The time requires is the same, just cycling across the mold before adding the next spoonful instead of spooning each hole full before filling the next.
  • 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. 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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