Monday, 27 August 2018

Multi-Coloured/Flavoured Small Batch Gummy Dog Treats

Whether you're creating a rainbow of treats like we did for Humphrey's barkday pawty (not that the dogs see the rainbow quite like we do, but they will smell/taste it!) or are interested in experimenting with different flavours without the commitment of a full batch, this treat tips and tricks post shows you how to easily create multiple varieties of yummy gummy treats from a small batch base.

Creating a Basic Gummy Base:

To create the gummy base, I typically to use a 1:3 ratio. I often work with one cup of liquid, which is just about perfect for my small paw and mini-bone molds; however, the quantities are easily scaled to suit a different mold volume (see tips below). I've gotten to love small batch gummy making as its quick, the dogs enjoy the anticipation of treat prep, and with small batches I don't necessarily have to freeze for longer storage.

1 cup cold water or alternative dog-safe liquid (pale works best for tinting)
3 tbsp plain gelatin powder

Measure cold water/stock into a suitable pot/pan. Tip: I've recently started 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.  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.

Adding Gummy Tint/Flavour:

There are tons of options and choice/quantities will depend on your add-in, desired colour/flavour level, and (of course) you pets. For the pictured treats, I split one cup of plain water base into four quarters and then used small quantities of carob powder (brown), turmeric powder (yellow) with a sprinkle of ground black pepper, beetroot powder (red), and kale powder (green).  Check out our post on natural colourings for ideas, and remember that the dogs will care more about the scent/taste than the looks, even more so in the case of colourings as they don't see colours in the same way as humans.  Small quantities of water-soluble ingredients work best for adding flavour/colour to a basic base without altering the consistency or set of gummy. Large quantities of added ingredients are best suited to a specific recipe instead of being added to a generic base. 

Remove from heat and separate into smaller containers for adding your flavours and/or tints.  Add your additional ingredients to the divided base containers and stir to combine.  Spoon or pour the finished gelatin mixture into your molds and chill to set fully before removing from molds.

Tips and Tricks:
  • If you are using add-ins that do not completely dissolve, it can help to hold the mixtures at room temperature until they start to thicken slightly (see more details in this example recipe) as this can help the base hold the add-ins suspended instead of having bits settle or float as the gummy fully sets.
  • 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. 

Bonus gummy-making tip: I prepped these treats using glasses so that the photos would be better able to show you the process, but I usually prefer to use something with a pouring spout and pour instead of spooning into the molds. My current go-to method is to use one of our stainless steel coffee machine milk jugs. They're a good size for a typical base batch, stain resistant for anything I may be using in the mix (e.g. turmeric, beetroot, etc.), and can be popped in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. Perfect.

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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