Monday, 10 September 2018

{RECIPE} Pumpkin Spice Latte Gummy Dog Treats

It is springtime here in New Zealand, but every September our social media feeds still fill up with the tempting allure of pumpkin spice everything. Kiwis love cooking with pumpkin pretty much all year round and our dogs LOVE pumpkin, so I thought, why not create a PSL inspired gummy? 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Gummy Dog Treats

The volumes below make approximately 2 cups of gummy mixture, with a smaller milky layer than pumpkin, like the smaller frothy top on our latte inspiration.  You can scale volumes to suit your mold or pans - see tips below.

Milky "Froth" Layer

1/3 cup cold water
2 tbsp gelatin
1/3 cup trim/skim milk (can use lactose-free or low-fat coconut milk for lactose sensitive dogs)

Pumpkin Layer 

2/3 cup cold water
4 tbsp gelatin
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (see tips below)
2.5 tbsp additional water
Optional seasonings: Sprinkle of ground turmeric, black pepper, ground ginger, and/or Ceylon cinnamon.  You can use more or less of the spices/seasonings if you wish to alter the supplementation content or smell/taste of the gummies, or something omit completely to better suit your dog.  The turmeric (with its companion pepper) was used for an added colour booster and the rest were for PSL inspired yum.

Starting with the milky layer, measure the water into a small saucepan. 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. Remove from heat, add milk, and pour into silicone molds (shaped gummies) or a glass pan (cut and slice). Chill until just barely firm to the touch (fully set layers don't bond well), then add the next layer. 

While the milky layer is setting, prepare the pumpkin layer. Sprinkle the surface of the cold water with gelatin powder and let sit for approximately five minutes for the gelatin powder to bloom/gel. While that's happening, you can prep the pumpkin by pureeing cooked pumpkin with the additional water and optional spices, then set aside. Once your gelatin is bloomed and ready, gently stir the bloomed gelatin mixture over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and mix with the prepared pumpkin. Note: For a clear distinction between layers, the pumpkin mixture should be warm (still fluid) but not hot (may melt into the layer below). Adding the warm gelatin to a cool pumpkin mix can help cool things down without extra wait time between dissolving and layering. Gently spoon/pour over your touch-firm milky layer. Chill to set thoroughly. 

 Tips and Tricks:
  •  I like to roast entire pumpkins and then divide it into small portions and freeze for future use (both for us and for the dogs).  It's easy and efficient to do the prepwork all at once and have ready use pumpkin on hand in the freezer. You can substitute with dog-safe pumpkin based baby food if you prefer.  Since baby food is usually more liquid, you can swap the additional water blended with the puree here for additional baby food, if you'd like.

  • Spicing thing up? Don't be tempted to use a ready-made pumpkin spice mix in dog treats instead of individual add-ins. Most contain ingredients that are not suitable for dogs, such as nutmeg. Although small amounts are unlikely to cause harm, its better to avoid the risk. 
  • 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. 
  • Volumes are very 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 and scale your added gelatin powder to suit the volume of liquid for your batch of treats.
  • In my experience, 3 tbsp of gelatin powder per cup of liquid makes firm gummies, but if you prefer, you can use more gelatin for added supplementation or less for a jigglier jelly treat with lower gelatin content. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger/weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
  • 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 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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