Holiday Scents and Shapes
A splash of blackstrap molasses and sprinkle of spice give this dog treat recipe a gingerbread-inspired holiday boost of scent and flavour. Our smooth roll-and-cut peanut butter dog treat dough works so well for simulating a cookie-dough texture that I wanted to play with it for my new Christmas plunger-cutters (I couldn’t resist buying them…) and decided to give the recipe a holiday twist. Since there are gingerbread treats, I used only the gingerbread person plunger from the set and created some matching gingerbread houses with cookie cutters.
Taking the Plunge
Shaping and stamping are some of my favourite ways to decorate homemade dog treats. Plungers combine both in an easy all-in-one cutter and stamp. I have a four-pieced Christmas set, but there are all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and styles. Shop around and find a design (and price) that you like. Try specialist baking shops or large online retailers like AliExpress or Amazon. You can check out the plunger cookie cutters Amazon (affiliate link) for product examples and ideas. Beware. Plungers can be addictively fun!
Peanut Butter and Molasses Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Peanut Butter and Molasses Gingerbread Christmas Dog Treats
This recipe was adapted from our go-to smooth roll-and-cut peanut butter dog treat dough recipe. Plunging or cutting shapes is optional. Any roll and cut dough can be used to make hand formed treats (ball and flatten), pressed into a pan and cut to size, formed as treat bars, and more. See our simple shortcuts for making baked dog treats for ideas.
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup room temperature water, stock, or other dog-friendly liquid
- Optional: 2 tbsp ground flax or LSA
- Optional: Sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon and/or ground ginger
- Approximately 1 cup of 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 egg, molasses, peanut butter, liquid and any optional ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Incrementally add flour, mixing into a cohesive workable dough. The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual ingredients and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Note that if you are not including the optional ingredients in these treats, you may need to use a little extra flour. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of extra liquid, a small amount of olive oil, or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed.
- Rest dough (optional but recommended).
- Roll, cut into desired shapes (see below), and place on a prepared baking pan.
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with shape/size, so keep an eye on the oven.
- Cool before serving and storage.
Optional Cutting and Decorating Ideas
Peanut Butter and Molasses Gingerbread Dog Houses
To create gingerbread dog houses, I started with my house shaped cookie cutter. I used a bone shaped cutter to stamp a doorway (and cheated by lining up my houses bottom to bottom for easy impressions). I cut the chimneys off because doghouses don’t have chimneys (hehehe…). They’re also a fiddly little bit that’s likely to bake faster than the main shape and/or break off easily. I also traced a line along the edge of the roof. It mimics the outline of the gingerbread person plunger pattern, giving the treats had a similar style.
Peanut Butter and Molasses Gingerbread Person Plunger Dog Treats
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. Low fat dog treat doughs are tricky, but this peanut butter base is easy to work with and has just enough oiliness from the peanut butter for me to use it easily with my plungers.
Thickness of the rolled dough is key for plunger with stamps 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. You can double check the depth by pressing on the back of your lifted cookie (first image in the collage above) to ensure that there is no gap between the dough and the plunger.
When working with plungers and stamps, any rising/leavening ingredients in the dough are a risk to the design as they can puff during baking. There are lots of human cookie options without leaveners, but many dog treat doughs are either too sticky, too soft, or too textured to be good candidates for detailed plunger designs. I took a chance since there is egg in this dough, but it worked well for me with these treats and in other stamped treat recipes since. I also like to bake lightly and then dehydrate. No worries either way – the dogs don’t mind if their treats look less than perfect! See our post on decorating homemade baked biscuit (cookie) style dog treats for more tips and ideas.
Additional Treat Making Tips and Tricks
Baked Biscuit Dog Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- See our introduction to making homemade baked biscuit (cookie) dog treats for additional information on baked dog treats.
- We don’t include yield in our treat recipe posts because it is very dependent on what the maker decides for treat shape, size, and thickness when they’re baking. We like to bake small batch treats (variety is the spice of life!). You can multiply our recipes if you’d like to bake a bigger batch for frozen storage or to share with furfriends.
- Baked treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller. Keep an eye on your time and temperature. The smaller the treat, 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 baked dog treats are best consumed within a couple of days from baking or frozen for longer storage. See our post on baked dog treat shelf life and storage for information and tips.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- Peanut butter can be tricky to measure perfectly. You can spritz your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray to help measure with less mess. Or simply don’t stress about it. Close enough is good enough. There can be big differences in consistency of different peanut butters as well. Little variations like that as well as variations in egg size, temperatures, and other factors are why we like to work incrementally when mixing our dog treat doughs.
- When using ingredients like peanut butter for dogs, take care when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, which is extremely dangerous for dogs. Xylitol may also be labelled as sweetener code 967. I use a no added salt or sugar smooth peanut butter when making treats.
- 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.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can also use the category and tag labels above/ below this post 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.