Monday, 9 December 2019
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{RECIPE} Spirulina Sour Cream Christmas Dog Treats

Homemade naturally green Christmas tree and bone dog treats

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how yummy are thy branches... These tasty dog treats get the naturally deep green colour from spirulina powder. I used my Christmas tree plunger cutter to make the decorated trees, but a normal Christmas tree cookie cutter (or other shape of your preference) would work great with this green dough as well.

I love using spirulina in gelatin gummies, where it keeps its gorgeous blue-green (and adds healthy goodness) and occasionally as in frozen treats, but I find that if used in baked treats, the colour dulls significantly (as you can see in the raw and baked treats collaged below). This can be boosted by using spirulina with a brighter green, like wheatgrass, but since dogs don't see green like we do and my boys love spirulina, I decided to just roll with it (literally...hehe) for these Christmas tree treats.

A light/pale dough like this sour cream base works well for taking tints. If you'd like to adapt this dough recipe for other colours (or for marbling), you can read more here about other natural dog treat colourings. The flax (a healthy add-in and binding assist) in this recipe can be seen as speckles of brown on the finished trees. Adjust the recipe to exclude if you a tinted treat prefer without speckles.

Step-by-step how to make homemade Christmas dog treats

Naturally Green Spirulina Sour Cream Christmas Dog Treats

Adapted from our Naturally Golden Turmeric Star Dog Treat Recipe

🥄 Treat Ingredients:

1 egg
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream (or thick-style low fat plain yogurt)
1/4 cup of homemade (or ready-made unsalted unseasoned) chicken stock
2 tbsp ground flax(optional)
1 tsp spirulina powder (optional and can adjust to suit preferences for quantity/colour)
Approximately 1 to 1+ 1/4 cup brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling

🥄 Making the Treats: 

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

Combine all ingredients except for the flour. Mix thoroughly, then incrementally add flour to form a nice firm workable dough. Different sour creams may vary in liquid content, so working incrementally is important. You may need to use use less/more flour to adjust consistency depending on your specific ingredients. Overshoot? No worries! You can add a bit of water (or a touch of olive oil) if you find the mix a bit too dry when you are ready to roll.  Rest dough (optional).

Roll, cut to shape, and place on a prepared baking sheet.  If crazing is a concern, you can mist/spray lightly with water to help reduce surface crackling during baking on detailed stamped patterns.  

Bake at 180C for approximately 10-15 minutes. Mine were baked short and then further dehydrated. I prefer lightly baking, but especially so with small shapes of pointy tips like these stars. Allow to cool before storage and serving.

Dalmatian dog begging for green Christmas tree homemade dog treat

To use plunger-style cutters instead of traditional cookie cutters, you need to ensure that you have a nice cohesive dough (see adjustment tips above) that will roll smoothly without cracking, take an impression cleanly, and release from the plunger without difficulty.  Dog treat doughs are often tricky, but dogs are also a-ok with imperfect looking treats which makes experimenting fun. Thickness is vital for plungers meant to create impression designs - too thick and things get squishy and hard to release cleanly, too thin and the design may not take well. I find it easiest to roll in smaller batches for a uniform thickness to plunger depth, and you can double check the depth by pressing on the back of your lifted cookie to ensure that there is no gap between the dough and the plunger.

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 ingredient/ambient temperatures, etc. are all  part of why we like to work incrementally when mixing. 
  • My chicken stock is simple unseasoned broth saved from preparing homemade dog food. It can be hard to source ready-made unsalted and unseasoned stock, but the treats can be made with an alternative liquid if you wish, including plain water. 
  • Flax is a healthy binding add-in for enhancing dough consistency. This can be useful when working with gluten free flours in dog treat dough, and handling consistency is particularly helpful when working with special shapes and cutters.  
  • 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, made bigger/smaller, or you can substitute simple balls for roll-and-cut treats. Keep an eye on your cooking time - the smaller the cookie, the shorter the baking time.
  • If you like a crunch treat instead of a cookie, with these and any baked treat, you can let them sit a while in the cooling oven before removing to get a little crispier or use a dehydrator and dry into a cracker-like crunchy biscuit. 
  • Homemade dog treats are best consumed within a couple of 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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