Monday, 7 October 2019

{RECIPE} Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog (Trick or) Treats

Dalmatian dog begging for homemade Halloween dog treats in a small orange treat bag, with bone shaped treats stamped "TRICK" and "TREAT"

Mmmm....pumpkin! Harvest is here for our northern furfriends and with it the silly season of all things pumpkin (and pumpkin spice), but here in New Zealand we like to enjoy pumpkin all year round. Pumpkin is delicious and nutritious, and we like to keep some cooked cubed pumpkin on hand in the freezer for quick and convenient use in baking/cooking for both humans and dogs.

Since these treats were being baked whilst we were preparing our Halloween posts (and enjoyed well before Halloween, as is the life of a blog dog), I decided to have a little fun with my custom alphabet stamps. Totally optional, of course! For more information about stamping and other decorating ideas, check out out post about decorating homemade baked biscuit dog treats, and we talk about our stamps in detail in DIY Stamped Dog Treats (Peanut Butter Bacon Bones).  Although I mixed this dough with stamped Halloween treats in mind, it was such a lovely natural orange that I decided to split my batch and make a few special pumpkin-shaped treats with it as well, and I've shared those details below. As for Trick or Treat selection, Oli and Humphrey vote for nibbling both.

Dalmatian dog eating homemade Halloween dog treats
Dalmatian dog eating homemade Halloween dog treats

Depending on the type of pumpkin (different varieties have slightly different flesh) and how it's prepared (roasting, baking, microwaving, etc.) pumpkin can vary in consistency and moisture, so it is especially important to work incrementally and adjust flour if/as needed to suit the desired dough consistency. Note: If you want to use a ready-made unseasoned pumpkin puree or a dog-safe pumpkin-based baby food, these are usually significantly wetter than home prepared pumpkin, so adjusting your recipe to use less stock and/or more dry ingredients may be necessary. See the Tips and Tricks section below for additional notes on optional ingredients, mixing, baking, storage, and more. 

{RECIPE} Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog (Trick or) Treats

Pumpkin gives these treats a natural orange tint, but if you want a stronger colour, you can amp it up with a dog-safe colouring or by adding some more naturally tinted dog treat ingredients, like turmeric powder, for a boost.

🥄 Treat Ingredients:

1/2 cup cooked cooled pumpkin, mashed or pureed
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium stock (or alternative dog-friendly liquid)
1 egg
1 tbsp gelatin powder (optional)
1 to 2 tbsp trim milk powder (optional)
Turmeric powder (optional) for additional yellow/orange tint (not used in the pictured treats)
Approximately 1 + 1/2 cups brown rice flour plus additional for rolling

🥄  Making the Treats: 

Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials.

Combine all ingredient except flour in a bowl, then incrementally add flour until the dough has a nice firm pliable consistency. Flour quantity may vary with your specific ingredients and optional add-ins (especially in this recipe, as cooked pumpkin can be quite varied), so 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 stock/water or olive oil to adjust. 

Rest dough (optional but recommended) and then knead lightly before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll and then cut into desired shapes or simply roll into bite-sized balls and flatten gently with a fork. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on size. Cool before serving and storage.

How to make pumpkin peanut butter Halloween dog treats in a step-by-step collage


Halloween (or Thanksgiving) Dog Treat Pumpkin Pumpkins 

These pumpkin pumpkins were made using the same dough as the stamped (Trick or) Treats. Many years ago, one of the very first shaped treats we shared on the blog were simple pumpkin dog treats shaped like little pumpkins. These pumpkin treats were made in the same hand-formed style, but with a roll-and-cut pumpkin based dough and hand-shaped stems and leaves. They look fancy, but were actually a snap to "decorate" (and could be even faster, if you opted for simplified stems). Here's a step-by step look at how they were made:

How to make pumpkin shaped dog treats in a step-by-step collage

A small amount of the divided dough was further split out, and tinted green with spirulina powder. It's not a perfect tint (spirulina doughs often dull when baked), but it is a healthy natural treat tinting option. And the dog's don't care about shapes and tints anyways, just us crazy humans! The pumpkins were created by rolling the orange dough, cutting with a basic round biscuit cutter, and adding line indentations with the side of a spoon. I was in a decorating mood, so I hand formed stems (texture was added after placement by gently using a butter knife to make impressions), leaves, and little rolled sections of vine.

Dalmatian dog begging for homemade pumpkin shaped dog treat

Tips and Tricks: 
  • New to treat baking? Check out our introduction to making baked dog treats for more information about baked biscuit/cookie style dog treats, including common ingredients, their role in baking, troubleshooting problems, and more.
  • Variations in measurements, individual ingredient types, and options/substitutions as well as variations in egg size, temperatures, etc. are all  part of why we work incrementally when mixing. 
  • Go natural or take care when when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like peanut butter when used for your dogs - xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs. I typically use a no added salt/sugar smooth peanut butter.
  • I love giving my dogs gelatin gummies, but gelatin is also a good binding add-in which helps enhance dough consistency, which can be helpful with gluten free flours in dog treat dough.  Similarly, in addition to richness and nutrition, milk powder helps to enhance dough consistency and I find it creates a slightly firmer/crisper baked result. 
  • Resting the dough is optional, but helps with the texture/handling of gluten-free baking dough. I like to rest briefly, then knead a little before final rolling and ensure it is well mixed. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Homemade treats are best consumed within a few days from baking, or frozen for longer storage. For more information, see our post on the shelf-life and storage of homemade baked dog treats.

🦴 Hungry for more tasty treats?  You can explore from our treat navigation page, hop straight into our homemade dog treat ideas in the blog archives, search the blog from our sidebar, or use the labels below this post to find other recipes that might be of interest. 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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