The way to a dog's heart? With homemade cookies! And we have just the pet-safe, pup-approved holiday cookie recipe that also makes for a fantastic gift for all their furry friends this holiday season: Gingerbread Icebox Cookies.
Created by cookbook authors and co-founders of Trunk Pop Dinners Marge Perry and David Bonom, these fruit-studded gingerbread cookies are a dog-friendly take the classic icebox cookie, which—fun fact!—originated in the '20s when homes had iceboxes instead of refrigerators. In addition to an assortment of dried fruits, these classic cookies typically feature different kinds of nuts, like pistachios and cashews; but for our doggie-delicious cookies, we made a few tasty (and healthy) changes.
For starters, we ditched the nuts because they're simply not safe for pups (you're welcome!). And to give the cookies a holiday twist, we found the perfect cookie toppers for these sweet treats: Wellness Pet Company's Old Mother Hubbard Winter Fun P-Nuttier dog treats. Simply whip up a quick batch of dog-friendly icing (we've provided that recipe, too), press on the Christmas tree-, snowflake-, stocking-, and star-shaped treats, and you have yourself the prettiest batch of cookies worth gifting to all your pet parent friends.
Gingerbread Icebox Cookie Holiday Recipe for Dogs
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken + Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food, finely ground in a food processor
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon real maple syrup (do not substitute imitation maple syrup as it can contain Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 cup pet-safe chicken broth
3/4 cup of dried and/or freeze-dried fruits, chopped into larger chunks (including kiwi, papaya, strawberries)
Handful of Old Mother Hubbard Winter Fun P-Nuttier Crunchy Dog Treats as cookie topper
1 ounce Neufchâtel cheese, softened (optional, for icing)
Natural food coloring, like McCormick Nature's Inspiration Food Colors (optional, for icing)
Measuring cups and spoons
Sushi rolling mat (optional)
Piping bag and tips (optional, for icing)
Gingerbread Icebox Cookie Instructions
1.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.Combine the ground Wellness dog food and flour in a bowl. Stir in the cinnamon and ground ginger.
3.In a second bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork. Add the peanut butter, molasses, maple syrup, grated ginger, and chicken broth; and stir until well-combined.
4.Stir in the dried fruit.
5.Stir in the dry mixture. Once the ingredients are well-combined, knead the dough until the mixture holds together. Roll into a 15-inch-long log that is about 2-inches in diameter. Place the log(s) on the baking sheet and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (overnight if you can!).
For perfectly round cookies, use a sushi rolling mat to roll the dough! (Trust us, it's a game-changer.)
6.While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
7.Cut the log into as many 1/2-inch-thick slices as you want to bake. (Wrap the remaining dough and refrigerate.)
For a more elegant look, use cookie cutters, like a scalloped cookie cutter, after slicing each cookie.
8.On half of the batch, lightly press one Old Mother Hubbard Winter Fun P-Nuttier Crunchy Dog Treats into the center of each cookie. Mold the cookie around the treat so it stays put.
9.Place the slices on the prepared sheet pan and bake 15–17 minutes, until they feel firm when tapped.
10.Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan—and enjoy!
These cookies look—and taste—even better when decorated with dog-friendly frosting. Keep scrolling for the easy icing recipe.
Dog-Friendly Icing Recipe
1.Mix cornstarch and water in a bowl until dissolved.
2.Add softened Neuchâtel cheese and beat with a hand mixer on medium until smooth.
3.Add food coloring to mixture*. If you want white icing with colorful accent, pour some of the prepared icing into a smaller bowl and just tint that amount.
4.Allow to sit at room temperature while the cookies bake, or chill if making icing well in advance.
*Note about food coloring:We advise using a natural food coloring, which is pet safe.
Other Dog-Safe Fruits to Add to Your Icebox Cookies
Other safe dried fruits to include:
Ingredients to avoid:
How to Gift These Gingerbread Icebox Cookies
Box Them Up
Bundle Them Up with Ribbon
Don't Forget the Gift Tag
To ensure proper food safety, refrigerate prepared cookies and consume within 3-4 days or transfer to a freeze-safe container and store for up to 1 month.
These recipes were reviewed by a veterinarian. They are intended as a treat or snack. These treats should not be fed to dogs that have diabetes or other blood sugar issues, and should be consumed in low-moderate amounts by overweight dogs. Treats should only constitute a small percentage of your pet’s daily food. Feeding too many treats can lead to nutrient deficiencies. If your pet has health issues (including sensitivities to fats) or if you have any concerns, consult your pet’s veterinarian before offering these food items.
Make These Other Holiday Recipes While You're At It: