Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Pink Valentine's Day Beet Dog Treats (Four Ways!)

Beetroot gives these Valentine's treats a natural bright pink colour (and a bit of dog-safe veggie goodness).  The dough is a beautiful bright pink playdough-like mix, which works great for rolling, shaped cutting, and stamping (as shown) but is just a pretty in simple flattened-ball cookies.  If you want make these extra special (or tempt fussy eaters), carob drop toppers look great with the pink as does a little bit of "chocolate icing" - see options below.

Pink (All Natural with Beet!) Valentine's Day Dog Treats

Tip: It can be difficult to puree beetroot to a fine crumb, so if you want a smooth dough you can puree the beetroot as fine as you can, check the measurement, and use some/all of the other wets in your food processor along with your measured beet o help create a smoother puree. I did these treats.

1/2 cup cooked unseasoned beetroot, pureed
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water or low-sodium stock
Approximately 1+1/2 to 3/4 cup rice flour (or equivalent substitute) plus extra for rolling
Additional flour and/or water (or plain beetroot juice for a colour boost) if/as needed to adjust consistency
Optional: carob drops (kisses) and/or carob powder + cornstarch or arrowroot/tapioca flour for "chocolate icing"

Preheat over to 180C. Thoroughly puree the beetroot. Mix in your egg, water, and peanut butter.  Incrementally add flour until the dough has a nice working consistency for shaping.  Cooked beetroot will vary in consistency, so it's important to work in the flour incrementally. If your mixture is looking/feeling a bit dry, you can add a little bit of water (or juice). If it isn't firm enough or is too sticky, add a touch more flour.  

Method One: Roll and Cut -  On a floured surface, roll your dough and cut with the cookie cutters of your choice.  Dipping the cookie cutter lightly in flour before you cut will help with release, especially if cutting complex shapes. Place on a prepared cookie tray and lightly brush the surface with a pastry brush or damp clean cloth to remove any excess flour.  For the pictured treats, we used a simple round biscuit cutter and cookie stamps (big cookie-sized treats, broken to serve).  If stamping, you can defer brushing and use flour to help with the stamps as with the cookie cutters; however, I find flour gets trapped in the little details of the cookies.  I prefer to brush off most of the flour first and give the tops of the cookies a very light spritz of olive oil cooking spray before stamping. Do whatever works best for you!  Place the pan of cookies into the fridge for approximately 30 minutes to chill (optional, but helps hold shape nicely) and then bake for approximately 15 minutes.  Cooking time will vary with size, so keep an eye on the oven. Cool before serving and storage.

Method Two: Simple Balls -  These are great made on their own or you can do a combo with the cut cookies - these are an easy way to use your rolled dough off-cuts.  Roll into small bite-sized balls, place on a prepared baking sheet, gently press with a fork or press a mini carob drop into the top of each cookie. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.  Cool before serving and storage. 

Option: Doggy Chocolate Icing aka Carob Glaze - You can (of course) dip the cooled cooked treats with melted carob or a carob mix (see our simple carob dipped dog treat instructions) but you can also whip up a simple carob glaze with a combination of carob powder, arrowroot flour (or cornstarch), and water.  For a small batch of glaze, start with 1 tsp carob, 2 tbsp arrowroot, and add cold water mixing slowly until it just starts to flight you back when stirring, like some sort of evil school science project. :)  This means it is fluid enough to dip in (or drop from a spoon as is my preference for tidier looking treats) but also has some tension to hold it onto the top of your treat.  Do a test glaze and add more flour or water to adjust if/as needed.  Allow to dry. The glaze will harden, but may flake a little or scratch when handled roughly or if treats are bagged/stacked. You can also omit the carob and make this using food colouring for any colour of glaze you wish.

Tips and Tricks:
  • This pink colour is completely natural, but if you dog doesn't like beetroot or has a sensitivity, you can get a similar result with any suitable neutral treat recipe (like this one) and food colouring or experiment with other less-intense but still natural reds, like strawberries - yum!
  • Beetroot can vary in colour intensity, but tints to a vibrant pink from pinky pink through dark magenta depending on strength and proportion. I've made this recipe several times and the colour has come out differently in each batch. You can tone down the pink of this recipe by using a combination of beetroot with a neutral fruit/veggie, like unsweetened apple or mashed banana, or other light coloured binder. Alternatively, you can thin the dough somewhat with liquid/water to hold additional flour (different consistency treat dough).  On the flip side, you can also rev up the colour to a deeper darker shade with beetroot powder or other dog-safe food colouring.  
  • Rice flour is a starchy gluten-free baker's option that works nicely to create a smooth rolling dough for cookies, and it is gluten-free if you have a sensitive pup. You can substitute another flour, if you wish, but may need to adjust quantities for consistency. 
  • Treats can be frozen for longer storage.

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.

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