Christmas is coming and it’s time for tasty treats! We’re sharing our recipe for peanut butter, banana, and carob dog treats, plus having some holiday fun with our Christmas plunger cookie cutters. This dense fudgy dog treat dough worked great for cutting, and the dogs loved the irresistible combination of banana, peanut butter, and carob. Drool!
Seasons Greetings and Eatings
Here in blog dog world, the taste testers are always ahead of the holidays. Our Instagram followers might have seen some holiday baking popping up in our stories starting a couple months ago. These banana, peanut butter, and carob dog treats and the naturally green spirulina Christmas tree dog treats we’ll be sharing with you in an upcoming post are already through the freezer (we freeze our dog treats for a ready supply of different flavours) and into tummies. We’re currently plotting Valentine’s Day dog DIYs and treats, and beyond. The dogs never seem to mind our crazy calendar. Especially when it involves taste testing. Hehehe…
Playing with Plungers
In prepping our holiday posts this year, I couldn’t resist experimenting with a few plunger cookie cutter recipes so that I could play with my Christmas plungers. 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, Banana, and Carob Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Christmas Plunger Dog Treats with Banana, Peanut Butter, and Carob
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 ripe (or over ripe) banana, mashed
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- Optional: 1 tbsp ground flax or LSA
- Optional: 1 tbsp gelatin powder
- 1/4 cup carob powder
- Approximately 3/4 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 banana, egg, peanut butter, and any optional ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Add carob powder and stir to combine.
- 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.
Plunger Cookie Cutter Dog Treats
To use plungers 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. Banana makes the dough extra thick and fudgy for working with, and help with binding and moisture when baked.
Thickness of the rolled dough is key for using a plunger with stamps to make impression designs on the treats. Too thick and things get squishy and hard to release cleanly. Too thin and the design may not stamp into the dough to leave a nice impression. I find it easiest to roll the dough in smaller batches for a uniform thickness. You can double check the depth by pressing on the back of your lifted cookie (third image in the collage above) to ensure that there is no gap between the dough and the plunger.
When working with plungers and stamps, 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.
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.
- Flax and gelatin are both healthy and handy binding add-ins that help enhance dough consistency. This can be useful when working with gluten free flours in dog treat dough, and better handling is particularly helpful when working with special shapes and cutters.
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.