Monday, 23 October 2017

{RECIPE} Marbled Halloween Dog Bone Treats

Tricks for treats? These Halloween dog bone treats are marbled with fun seasonal colours as well as flavours.  Yummy!  I've included the recipe mix used to make these treats in the post below, but you can also adapt your favourite neutral coloured dog-friendly roll-and-cut treat dough (see the tips at the end of the post) to create a similar Halloween marbling effect.  I started with pumpkin because I was in a Halloween pumpkin sort of mood, but wanted to make a tri-coloured dough for marbling, so I went for a lighter mix by combining it with egg and peanut butter and augmenting that base colour to a tinted orange and delicious carob brown.

{RECIPE} Marbled Halloween Dog Bone Treats

1/2 cup pumpkin baby food or equivalent substitute (see tips and tricks at the end of the post)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low fat milk powder (see tips and tricks at the end of the post)
1 egg
Approximately 1+1/4 cup rice flour or equivalent substitute, plus extra for rolling
Food colouring (orange, or red+yellow) or an alternative orange dog-safe natural tint
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp carob powder

Preparing the dough: Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the pumpkin/baby food, peanut butter, egg, and milk powder. Incrementally add the additional flour, mixing into a firm dough.  The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual pumpkin mixture and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Working in the additional flour incrementally until you get a nice cohesive dough is very important. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of water, a small amount of olive oil, or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed.  Divide roughly into thirds and create your three different colours as below:

  • Beige/Neutral dough: Base dough as mixed
  • Orange tinted dough: Addition of orange food colouring or natural tint 
  • Brown tinted dough: Addition of molasses and carob 

* My carob powder is potent stuff, but if yours is on the mild side or you want to amp up the flavour a bit, you can use more carob with a little extra molasses and/or water if/as needed to adjust consistency in your brown mixture.

It is easier to evenly mix coloured add-ins by mixing them with with the liquids before adding the flour; however, this requires either a big batch of treats (three separate doughs) or splitting the wets and dividing the flour.  I often do the latter, but since it requires a calibrated eyeball :) I decided it might be confusing to share the recipe instructions that way.  Besides, we are marbling the dough so perfectly even colour isn't an issue here. Yay! 

Splitting the wets requires you to be able to judge the split and allocate flour proportionally, but it's easy to do if you're a confident baker.  Feel free to give it a try!  Split, mix through your add-ins, and then mix in flour incrementally until you have a nice cohesive workable dough.  Tip: When splitting small quantity wet ingredients, I find that it can sometimes be helpful to part mix the dough first (add some but not all flour - creating a cake-batter like consistency) to make it a little easier to divide the mix into roughly equal portions.  

Marbling and baking: Separate the doughs into small pieces. Ensure a good distribution for variety and don't make the pieces too tiny, else your marbling will be muddy when rolled. Gather the pieces together and squeeze into a loose ball. Roll and cut into shapes. I used a bone cookie cutter for the treats and a small circle plunger for the little confetti bites. Tips: Keeping dough a touch on the wet/sticky side (not too much or it will be hard to roll and cut) helps piece stick and join well when combined. Since repeat reforming and rolling will muddy the marbling, cut your larger shapes first and the smaller-pieces from the gaps and any re-rolled dough. You can split and keep some of your starting dough aside to add back in on a later re-roll to extend the marble-life.  Place on a prepared cookie tray and lightly brush the surface with a pastry brush or damp clean cloth to remove excess flour if/as needed. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes depending on size and thickness. Cool before serving and storage.

Tips and Tricks: 
  • Always check your ingredients to ensure the contents are dog-safe if using baby food. If it is sold in your area, canned pumpkin puree (plain pumpkin, NOT spiced or sweetened pie filling) can be used. It isn't common down here (although goodness knows why!) so I went with a pumpkin baby food instead.  You can also make these with homemade pumpkin puree.  As liquid content will vary, you may need to play around with the flour quantity and/or add water to get a nice workable consistency.
  • Go natural or take care when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like peanut butter for your dogs – xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs.
  • Adding milk powder adds extra richness as well as nutritional value, but I find it also enhances workability and creates a slightly firmer/crisper baked result. Our local grocery store sells powered milk as well as powdered goats milk and powdered coconut milk, which can be used as alternatives to dairy milk, or you can omit the powder from your dough all together.  
  • The treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller - just keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller and/or thinner the cookie, the shorter the baking time.   
  • For a crunchier treat, you can let baked treats sit a while in the cooling oven before removing to get a little crispier or pop the baked treats into a dehydrator. 
  • These treats can be frozen for longer storage. 

If you're using a different base recipe to create your marbled treats:
  • Any suitable roll-and-cut dough will do but smooth doughs without any rough or chunky ingredients will work best.  For tinting, a pale neutral dough is the best option; however, if you decide to start with a darker dough, such as a fuller pumpkin-based orange, you can still use carob to create a brown for a two-toned marble instead of three.
  • If you're using natural add-ins to create colour, it is best to pick a compatibly flavoured treat dough recipe. 
  • Marbled doughs can be created from splitting one dough into different tints/mixes or by combining different doughs.  If combining different doughs, make sure that they have a similar consistency and baking requirements for best results. See recipe above for tips about splitting doughs for marbling.

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 or have questions about your dog's diet and health, have a chat with your vet.


  1. How do you store them?

    1. Hi there! Storage for these is similar to a human cookie. You can keep them in an airtight container/jar for a few of days (a little longer if dehydrated). They are best consumed fresh or frozen for longer storage.

      I freeze almost all of my treats so there is always a mixed variety of treats on hand in the freezer. :) I simply pop a few in an open counter top treat jar to defrost daily, or go straight from the freezer into a drawstring treat bag to defrost in my pocket during walkies. Very convenient and great to have lots of frozen fresh options to keep treat time interesting.

      Hope that helps!


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