Monday, 20 June 2016

{RECIPE} Molasses & Peanut Butter "Gingerbread" Dog Treats

Blackstrap molasses gives these treats a rich brown colour and fabulous smell, reminiscent of real gingerbread. Quality blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrition (for humans and animals) and some folks believe it can help dogs with arthritis and mobility, immune system strength, and heart health. Our dogs love the smell, so I set out to bake a tasty treat with a boost of molasses.

Molasses and Peanut Butter "Gingerbread" Dog Treats

1/2 cup yogurt
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp ground flax (optional)
A sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Approximately 1 cup rice flour

Preheat over to 180C. Combine yogurt, molasses, peanut butter, flax, and cinnamon in a bowl. Incrementally add flour until the dough has a nice workable play-dough like consistency.  Flour quantity will depending on the liquid in your yogurt, so do work incrementally. If it isn't firm enough, add a touch more flour. If your mixture is looking a bit dry, you can add a little bit of additional water to adjust. On a floured surface, roll your dough and cut with the cookie cutters of your choice. Place on a prepared cookie tray and lightly brush the surface with a pastry brush or damp clean cloth to remove excess flour. Place the pan of cookies into the fridge for approximately 30 minutes to chill (optional) and then bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with size, so keep an eye on the oven. You can let them sit a while in the cooling oven before removing if you would like a crunchier cookie. Cool before serving and storage.

Tips and Tricks:
  • Go natural or take care when when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like yogurt and peanut butter when used for your dogs - xylitol is particularly dangerous for dogs.
  • 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. 
  • These treats can be frozen if you would like to freeze extras or make a larger batch for later.  The dough can also be frozen unbaked for future use.
  • The treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.
  • Chilling the dough before rolling and/or after cutting your shapes on the pan before baking is optional as this is a low fat dough, but it can help with handling and/or holding shape, just like human cookies.

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.

Run, run, run as fast as you can...  Did you know in the full The Gingerbread Man rhyme, the Gingerbread Boy escapes many pursuers but ends up being eaten by a wiley fox?  Wiley Dalmatians are more than happy to re-enact that role:


  1. We had a question offline about what blackstrap molasses was and if/how it differed from fancy. I knew that it was healthier, less sweet, and almost overpoweringly strong (I buy it to take myself as a supplement...VERY strong and has a bitter aftertaste) but wasn't sure exactly what the difference were. In brief:

    Blackstrap Molasses is the highly-concentrated, final by-product of the refined sugar manufacturing process. It's very dark, thick, strong, and kind of bitter. It has the highest content of beneficial nutrients of all the molasses.

    Fancy Molasses is the highest grade of molasses available, hence the fancy I suppose! It is pure sugar cane juice that has been, condensed, inverted, and purified. Light is first boil, dark is second boil. Both are lighter and sweeter than blackstrap.

    Cooking Molasses is a blend of both, trying to strike a balance between palatable sweetness and robust flavour.

    There are some Reduced Sugar Molasses options out there on the market, but I would steer clear of these for dog treats. They are often a blend of fancy molasses, water, glucose, fructose and/or other ingredients.

    Dogs don't need the sweetness factor, and the point of adding the Blackstrap is for smell/flavour and nutrients. Blackstrap is the best option. It packs a very powerful flavour punch in small quantities and works great with a "little goes a long way" philosophy when using it as an additive.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Just curious about whether you buy any treats or make all your own? Are there any you would recommend? Also do you feed raw or kibble? We're waiting for our puppy to be old enough to come home so excited but so much to learn. :-)))

    1. How exciting! Puppies benefit from special selection and feeding plans whilst they are growing and maturing (they grow sooooo fast!) so good on you for getting a head start! The right food for your dog will depend a lot on the dog and his/her needs (age, breed, size, activity, sensitivities, etc). What sort of pup is your new arrival?

      Our dogs are currently mixed fed with homemade breakfasts, a mix of homemade and bought treats, and a high quality evening kibble. We use several types/brands, and both boys have a slightly different diet due to age, size, and other factors. I know! Hard, but worth it!

      You are very welcome to comment or message anytime (there is an email link on sidebar), and if you let me know more about your pup I can try and help with specifics. Good luck with your new puppy! So much work, but so much fun!

    2. You're doing a good job researching for necessary information just before your pup arrive home. I feed my pooch a special kibble because Cassie is the type of dog that will just sniff the food and leave it when she doesn't want it. She's also allergic to some ingredients. Unfortunately, she can only eat certain foods. I advise you to make homemade treats instead of buying. Budget friendly, quality assurance and FUN making them! Good luck on your new happiness! :)

    3. Poor Cassie - glad you have a handle on her allergies and have found a safe food that she enjoys. My wild beasts will ravenously eat anything (even things I really would rather they didn't...) so portion control, quality, and exercise are king around here. :)

      I definitely agree that treats are fun. My dogs love the theatrics in the kitchen while their treats or food are being made. Oh the anticipation!

    4. She is kind of diva haha. I agree with you, no matter how picky eater and low in appetite Cassie is, I always make sure she gets enough exercise.

      I could imagine them excitedly watching you while you make the treats, that does not always happen in my kitchen. I'm starting to think that Cassie is a reincarnation of a cat. Haha :)

    5. Haha! Well, I do suspect that it might be some classic conditioning at work - preheat the oven and they salivate. And the dehydrator is a double-duty dog desiccator: Oli guards it drooling for hours when I make them jerky. Don't even get me started on the cooking timer ding. Hehehe...

    6. What a nice scenario haha! The aroma must be some kind of stimulator to them.

  3. You're blog is so much fun to read! Blackstrap molasses has a very low sugar content so it's really high in health value for both humans and doggies. Maybe I will experiment on the shapes as I love doing that. :D

    1. Thanks, Kendra. :) I'm sure the dogs couldn't care less about the looks of their treats, but it is fun to make them in different shapes and styles all the same. As I noted in the comment above, they love being in the kitchen. Lots of mental stimulation and sniffing/drooling while we build anticipation.

    2. Cassie rarely shows interest in watching me make her treats, she couldn't care less about it but I'm having so much fun. :)


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