Log fires, blankets, mugs of hot chocolate, toasty warm socks… there’s something magical about this time of year. It’s been a misty, cold day here and we’re planning to light the first fire of the season tonight to celebrate the start of the weekend and our hibernation from the winter weather.

In preparation I’ve made these pinecone firelighters, lightly scented with cinnamon and guaranteed to set the kindling alight with a pop and a crackle. You can buy these commercially but at vast expense, so I decided to have a go at making my own, with a view to giving these as homemade gifts this Christmas. My research uncovered scarily complicated instructions involving double-boilers, safety goggles, wick-trimming and dipping and general scientific sorcery… so I applied some lateral thinking and came up with a much simpler approach. It’s very safe and quick, though perhaps the only downside of this is that you’re unlikely to need to attract your local Firemen for manly assistance.

firestarter cupcake

You’ll need:
A pocketful of pine cones
Pack of tea-lights or small candles
Cupcake cases, slightly larger than your pine cones
Optional candle scent; cinnamon, pine, cranberry and sandalwood are all divine. (click on link to see how!)