Pumpkin DIYs: Spiced Candles, Chocolate Cookies and Vanilla Cacao Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins and squash on the hearth

Earlier this week, my sister and I walked the mile or so to the farm shop down the road from us to pick some fruit and choose some pumpkins! We had a lovely hour or so there, taking photos and marvelling at the completely natural looking, almost neon coloured berries and leaves. 

We found it really difficult to choose, so ended up with armfuls! After picking a bag of apples and pears each, plus a jar of honey (can't get more local than a mile away!) we laughed on the way home about how we'd end up looking like Mr Tickle after carrying so much weight! 

I really wanted to make the most of all this wonderful produce, and of course they will be making their way into the usual soups and curries, but I had a few other things in mind too...

Pumpkin Spice Candles

Every year I'm fascinated by these mini gourds, and I picked out a couple to have a play with (and ticked an item off my Autumn Bucket List while I was at it too!)

mini pumpkins

small green pumpkin

miniature pumpkin

mini pumpkins

mini pumpkins on grey

Turning these little guys into candles was really easy! The night before you want to make them, warm around half a cup of rapeseed (or other unscented oil) in a pan, and add your favourite autumn spices. I chose cinnamon, nutmeg and a little allspice - approximately three teaspoons all together. I also added a little vanilla, and the zest of a whole orange. Once warm, leave the oil in a container overnight to infuse. I used half a cup for three small candles, so up the amount depending on the size and number of candles you're making! 

how to make pumpkin candles with infused oil

Next, hollow out your mini pumpkins! I decided to use the orange ones and save the green one to cook later (I'm sure these have real names - but for now we'll go with orange and green!) 

I sliced the whole top off the first one, and for the second I used a cookie cutter to punch a hole in the top and a teaspoon to remove the seeds and flesh. 

how to make pumpkin candles

Next melt your wax! As I was only making three candles, rather than buying a large quantity of wax I melted some good quality soy candles - four dinner candles was almost exactly the right amount for my three candles. Place the wax into a glass or metal just or bowl, then place this over a pan of boiling water and keep a close eye on it while it melts. Whatever you do don't try and melt your wax directly on the heat - use a double boiler to keep things safe! 

wax melting in double boiler

While your wax melts you can get your wicks ready! My candle wicks were very kindly given to me by Rachel of Graceful Wildling who read my post about wanting to make candles and donated some of her unwanted supplies to me! I'm really very grateful, and I'm loving the real life connections the often lonely world of the internet helps us to make (look out for a little thank you in the post soon Rachel!) 

You would usually stick the metal base to the bottom of your candle container, but as it wouldn't stick to the slightly damp pumpkin interior I simply pushed one edge of the metal into the pumpkin to hold it in place. To stop the wicks falling over and ending up off centre, prop them up with some skewers or similar.  

how to make pumpkin spice latte candles

Once youw wax it melted, pour in your infused oil and give it a good stir. Working quite quickly as the oil will have brought the temperature of the wax down, fill each of your pumpkins with wax. 

how to make pumpkin spice candles

When the wax is very nearly set, you can sprinkle the top with some extra spices. I also added a few coffee beans as a nod to the pumpkin spice latte grand (which I still can't stand I'm afraid!)

pumpkin spice latte candle

how to make pumpkin spice latte candles

how to make pumpkin spice latte candles

Trim your wick, leave to set completely, then light and enjoy! I also made one in a tiny glass jar and added some of the orange zest from the infused oil. 

pumpkin spice candles tutorial

Geometric Patterned Lantern

Of course, one of the pumpkins was destined for carving, but I didn't fancy carving the usual scary face! I used a craft knife to gently score each triangle into the surface of the pumpkin, then removed only the top layer of skin, exposing the flesh underneath. To allow a little more light out I used a small drill bit to puncture holes between the triangles. A little PVA glue and glitter on the the stem, and my pumpkin is complete!  

pumpkin with glitter stem and pumpkin spice latte candles

glitter stem pumpkin

glitter geometric carved pumpkin

I'm so pleased with it! The opposite of scary and much more about celebrating the beauty of the season which is what our halloween is all about (I wrote more about this last year

Chocolate Squash Cookies

Now, I'm really not a fan of pumpkin spice lattes - I just don't think a vegetable belongs in a coffee! However, I am a fan of vegetables in cakes and decided to have a go at some butternut squash cookies!

I'm quite pleased with them - the texture is somewhere between cookie and brownie, and I think with a few more oats they could be pleasingly flapjack-y!

You will need:

400g peeled and diced squash or pumpkin
1/2 cup of plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
1/2 cup of oats 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used crunchy!)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar or sweetener of choice (I used coconut sugar, and kept it to 1/2 a cup - the squash gives quite a lot of sweetness)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
100g really dark chocolate 
A pinch of sea salt

cubed butternut squash for pumpkin cookies


1. Boil or steam your squash until cooked through, then drain and leave to cool slightly

2. While your squash is cooking, mix the flour, oats, and baking powder in a large bowl

3. Place the cooled but still warm squash into a food processor (if you don't have one I imagine this would work fine with a bowl and a potato masher!) and whizz until smooth

4. To the pureed squash, add the peanut butter, sugar and coconut oil. Whizz up again. The warmth from the squash should be enough to liquify the coconut oil and soften the peanut butter. 

5. Pour the butternut mixture into the flour and oats, and mix well. Depending on the type pf flour you used, and how much water your squash absorbed you may need to add some extra flour. It should be slightly looser than a dough, but not so loose that it won't hold its shape. At this point add the chopped chocolate and mix well. The slight warmth should just melt the chocolate so it ripples through the mixture. 

6. You can either bake these now, or freeze to make later. To bake straight away, line a tray and dollop tablespoonfuls (I love that word!) of mixture onto the tray, flattening each out slightly into a rough cookie shape. Top each with a few extra oats, as sprinkle of sugar and a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees - they will be a little soft when you first pull them out of the oven, but will firm up slightly when cooled (although they should still be soft and brownie like!)

7. Alternatively, place the mixture onto some greaseproof paper, roll into a sausage and freeze. When you want to bake you can slice off as many pieces as you need, then bake for approximately 18 minutes, pulling them out after 3-4 to add the extra toppings! 

pumpkin cookies

how to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

recipe for pumpkin cookies

These didn't last long at all! Thankfully I still have half the mixture in the freezer for later! 

Vanilla Cacao Pumpkin Seeds

I didn't want all those pumpkin seeds to go to waste, so I threw together this little concoction and it was AMAZING! It's so simple its not even a recipe, and I can't be specific with measurements, so just experiment with what you fancy! 

Wash and dry the seeds, put them in a bowl with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, a sprinkle of coconut sugar, a teaspoon or so of cacao  (or cocoa) powder and a generous pinch of salt. Roast in a hot oven until they're crispy and beginning to pop! The coconut sugar will caramelise and the sweet and salty combination is the best! 

I ate an entire pumpkins worth of seeds in about five minutes! 

recipe for vanilla cacao pumpkin seeds

There we have it! A plethora of ideas for using those pumpkins you just cant resist buying! I think I've caught the candle making bug and definitely want to try some with essential oils, and I'm dying to experiment with infusing the oil with herbal tea...watch this space! 

Happy Halloween!! 

1 comment

  1. I love walking to the farm shop whenever we visit my mother in law in Norfolk - so many lovely seasonal treats!

    You've really inspired me with these candles, they look absolutely wonderful! Candle-making is something I've always thought I'd love to try but thought that it would be far too difficult, you've made it look so straightforward...with fantastic results!

    Loved this post! C xx