With Valentine’s Day coming up and Puzzle Day later this week (I love those crazy calendar days), today’s post is a cute DIY decorating idea for homemade dog treats. Stamping is one of my favourite methods to dress up a dog treat. It’s an easy way to make cute treats without adding icings or glazes that require extra time, ingredients, and may affect the portability, storage, and/or shelf life of the treats. They look fancy, but stamped designs can be deceptively easy to make and fun, too. Let’s paw our way into the kitchen and get baking.
Behind the Scenes in the Dalmatian DIY Kitchen
With all the crazy treats we create and share, you might be surprised to read that we do remakes/bakes of existing recipes. Sometimes this is because it’s a simple go-to favourite (like beef jerky or broth gummies), sometimes I’m testing with different ingredients or substitutions, and sometimes it’s just because the mood strikes.
With our transition to the new Dalmatian DIY website, one of the long-term very slow tasks on my to-do list is going back through our recipe archives. I want to recheck old recipe details and make adjustments for accuracy and clarity, if needed. To keep it fun for my crazy creative self, these rebakes are a great opportunity to have a little fun with the shape and style of the treats. Occasionally, you’ll see them pop up on the blog with DIY decorating ideas that you can use with your own favourite dog treat (or human cookie) recipes from here or elsewhere. If you have suggestions or special requests, drop us a comment. No promises, but you never know!
Making Puzzle Dog Treats
Choosing a Base Dough
Stamped dog treats can be made using any roll-and-cut dog treat dough. You’ll get better impressions on a smooth cohesive dough that can take an impression cleanly. Avoid using chunky ingredients that will be difficult to stamp. Dough colour variations and speckling may also be a distraction from the stamped pattern. See our post on decorating homemade dog treats for more information and helpful tips.
Puzzle Shaped vs. Puzzle Inspired Mosaic Treats
To make true puzzle treats, you will need some form of puzzle shaped cookie cutter (affiliate link). I used a standard puzzle piece and a two-piece puzzle heart. Any shape of cookie or biscuit cutter can be used with a patterned dough for a puzzle-inspired look. It’s the irregular mosaic stamping on the dough that really gives these treats their jigsaw puzzle look.
I used a combination of smaller cutters as my stamps, but dough can be stamped with any clean food-safe items. Your imagination is the limit! Dough can also be rolled with a patterned rolling pin or by placing a textured food safe sheet (such as lace) over the partially rolled dough before rolling over the top to create an impression prior to cutting. I’ve used this technique to create and cut patterned clay for crafts. A rolled regular pattern is less puzzle-like than our mosaics, but also cute.
Making the Valentine's Day Jigsaw Puzzle Dog Treats
Unlike most of our stamped treats that are decorated after cutting, these treats are made by hand stamping designs in the dough before cutting for a full mosaic jigsaw effect. The stamped patterns extend past the edges of the cut biscuits. See the notes below on optimising.
Making the Treats:
- Preheat the oven and mix the dough according to your chosen recipe.
- Roll the dough.
- Stamp with decorative patterns. Your imagination is the limit, and I have to say, it’s pretty fun! See tips below.
- Cut to shape and place on a prepared baking sheet.
- Chill if needed for your chosen recipe, and then bake according to recipe.
- Cool before serving and storage.
Puzzle Treat Pattern Tips:
If using words or large shapes in the pattern, extra attention to cutter placement and orientation can be helpful to optimise the cut shapes. For example, I cut the puzzle hearts first (large cuts, taken together as a matched set). Puzzle pieces (unmatched) were taken if/as suited, and then puzzle bones before re-rolling and stamping a new mosaic.
Depending on your cutter(s), puzzle pieces can be carefully cut to fit together if you’re keen to try; however, any misalignment in cutting, small variations during cutting and positioning on the pan, and/or changes during baking can affect the fit. Not that the dogs will care about assembling. My boys are keener on disassembling! Share the love? Don’t mind if we do. Happy Valentine’s Day, furfriends!
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can use the category and tag labels to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. 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.