O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how yummy are thy branches… These homemade naturally green spirulina dog treats look fabulously festive. I used my Christmas tree plunger cutter to make the decorated Christmas tree biscuits, but a normal Christmas tree cookie cutter (or other shape of your preference) would work great with this green dough as well.
Going Green with Spirulina
Spirulina powder gives these sour cream and chicken stock dog treats their deep green colour. If you’d like to adapt this dough recipe for other colours or for marbling, check out our post on using natural dog treat colourings for tinting ideas.
Spirulina is a super-food for people and pets. It’s also a gorgeous colour for playing with tinted treats. I particularly like using spirulina in gelatin gummies, where it keeps its beautiful blue-green (and adds healthy goodness). The same with frozen treats. Unfortunately, I find that the colour dulls significantly in baked treats, as you can see in the raw and baked photos below. If you’re keen on a bright green, the colour can be boosted by combining spirulina with another green, like wheatgrass powder, or swapping the tints altogether. Since dogs don’t see green like we do and my boys enjoy spirulina, I decided to just roll with it (literally) for these Christmas tree dog treats.
Using Sour Cream in Baked Dog Treats
This recipe was adapted from our naturally golden turmeric star dog treat recipe, and you can read more about the baking considerations and dog diet factors for sour cream in that post.
Although the pale sour cream dough works well for tinting, it may not be suitable for some pets, especially those who have issues with lactose. If your pup has lactose sensitivities or intolerances, give this recipe a pass. Sniff around our homemade dog treat recipe collection for other ideas instead.
As with any food or ingredient, check the nutritional content for moderating intake and the ingredients for suitability, including all the additives. Even with lite (reduced fat) sour cream, moderation is important. In terms of nutritional value vs. percentage fat, I wouldn’t be serving it straight up to our boys by the spoonful, but in context of a baked treat recipe the actual content per treat is small.
Naturally Green Spirulina Baked Biscuit Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Sour Cream and Chicken Stock Dog Treats with Spirulina
This spirulina dog treat recipe is a simple variation adapted from our naturally golden turmeric star dog treats. Rolling and cutting shaped treats is (of course) optional. The dough can be used for simple flattened ball treats or other quickie treat-making methods instead, if you prefer. See our simple shortcuts for making baked dog treats for ideas.
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup lite (reduced fat) sour cream
- 1/4 cup unseasoned chicken stock or alternative dog-safe liquid
- 2 tbsp ground flax or LSA
- 1 tsp spirulina powder for colour (and scent/flavour)
- Approximately 1 to 1 + 1/4 cups of brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling
You can use more or less spirulina in these treats depending on strength, colour, the other preference for you and your dog. As noted above, spirulina tends to darken when the treats are baked. If you prefer a lighter or more vibrant green, you can use a mixture of spirulina and wheatgrass powders, or swap the tint to something other than spirulina. Of course, the dogs don’t care about the colour – that’s just for us crazy humans having a little festive fun with our treat baking and sharing.
Making the Treats:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials.
- Combine egg, sour cream, stock, flax/LSA, and spirulina (or other tints) in a suitable mixing bowl.
- Incrementally add flour, mixing into a cohesive workable dough. Different sour creams may vary in liquid content, so working incrementally is important. The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual ingredients and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Not quite right when you’re ready to roll? No worries! You can add a little bit of extra liquid or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed.
- Rest dough (optional but recommended).
- Roll, cut into desired shapes, and place on a prepared baking pan. See below for tips if using plunger cutters.
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with shape/size, so keep an eye on the oven. Optional: 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.
- Cool before serving and storage.
Tips for Using Plunger Cookie Cutters (Optional)
Using Plunger Cookie Cutters to Decorate Dog Treats
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!
Choosing a Suitable Dog Treat Dough Recipe
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. This recipe isn’t my favourite option for plungers (I prefer plunging with peanut butter for a little extra oiliness), but I couldn’t resist playing with the plunger cutters.
Cutting Homemade Dog Treats with 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 or treat (second 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. Fats can melt and spread, destroying the stamped design. Low fat dough can craze. It’s a careful balance. There are lots of human cookie options, but many dog treat doughs are either too sticky, too soft, or too textured to be good candidates for detailed plunger designs. No worries either way, though – 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 though (variety is the spice of life!) and you can multiply our recipes if you’d like to big batch bake for frozen storage or to share with furfriends.
- 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
- Variations in measurements, individual ingredient types, and options and substitutions as well as variations in egg size, ingredient and ambient temperatures, etc. are all part of why we work incrementally when mixing.
- When selecting a spirulina product (for people or pets), choose a quality product from a trusted supplier so you can be confident in the content. I use a certified organic human-grade product from a reputable supplier.
- Flax is a healthy binding add-in for enhancing consistency, and can be beneficial both before and after baking. It’s especially useful when working with gluten free flours in dog treat dough, and handling consistency is particularly helpful when using shapes and cutters. In this recipe, the flax can be seen as speckles of brown on the finished trees, but I think it’s worth it.
- 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.
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.