Fall is time for hot and sweet apple cider drinks and our specialty caramel apples. We dip thousands of caramel apples every week during October.
Apples have been a popular fruit in North America for hundreds of years. The only apples that are native to North America are crab apples. Crab apples are much smaller than regular apples and are usually extremely sour. European immigrants introduced the tree we know today; Apples were first grown in America in 1625.
Before there were caramel apples, there were candy apples. William W. Kolb invented red candy apples in New Jersey. He experimented with red cinnamon candy for Christmas. He started dipping apples in the mixture and made the first candy apples in 1908.
Caramel apples were also invented by a candy maker experimenting with holiday candy. In 1950, Kraft Foods had extra caramels left over from Halloween. An employee, Dan Walker, had an idea for the caramels. He melted the caramels and started dipping apples in them. They were very popular! For the next ten+ years, all caramel apples were hand-dipped. In 1960, Vito Raimondi invented the first automated caramel apple machine in Chicago.
We like to do things the old-fashioned way at Winans, which often means by hand. We use our original caramel recipe, handed down from Max and Dick to Joe and Laurie. Our Ohio-grown apples are locally sourced by Fulton Farms in Troy. We put wooden sticks in our apples by hand before hand-dipping them in caramel. The caramel is extremely hot when we dip the apples!
We make five different types of caramel apples. We have a classic caramel apple. We also make a caramel apple which is rolled in pecans. Our deluxe caramel apple is dipped in caramel, then milk chocolate, rolled in pecans and drizzled with white chocolate. We make a sea salt caramel apple which is dipped in caramel, then milk chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Our most unique apple is our Buckeye apple. This apple is dipped in our peanut butter delight center before being dipped in milk chocolate. It’s like a giant buckeye candy with the tart crunch of an apple.
We find that the best way to enjoy a Winans caramel apple is to cut it into smaller pieces and share it with a friend! If you’d rather not share, there’s no shame in taking a big bite out of your caramel apple. 😉
We also have a variety of apple drinks only available during the fall season. Chaider is available hot or cold and is equal parts chai and apple cider. We also have Spiced Caramel Apple Cider and Salted Caramel Apple Cider!
A History of the Caramel Apple
Caramel Apples–More Tips
How to Cut and Serve Perfect Caramel Apple Slices
The History of Caramel & Candy Apples
Chocolate and Peanut Butter is such a classic flavor combination! Its popularity is up there with cheese and crackers, tortilla chips and salsa, and milk and cookies. Chocolate’s sweetness combines well with peanut butter’s salty, creamy and savory flavor.
These are so many delicious ways chocolate and peanut butter can be enjoyed together: brownies and bars, cake and cupcakes, pies, cookies, cheesecake, ice cream, scotcheroos… the list goes on! We can’t forget Ohioan’s favorite way to eat chocolate and peanut butter: the Buckeye candy!
The Buckeye is an Ohio symbol in so many ways. Our state tree is the Ohio Buckeye. Ohioans have been called “Buckeyes” since the late 1700s to early 1800s. The word buckeye was probably first used to describe the nut of the Ohio Buckeye tree. Male deer are called bucks and since the nuts looked like deer eyes, they were known as “buck-eyes.” The famous Ohio State Buckeyes, the sports teams from The Ohio State University, use the nickname for Ohioans and our state tree. OSU’s mascot, Brutus, is actually a giant buckeye — and we’re nuts about him (pun intended)!
Candy Buckeyes are a popular treat not only in Ohio but in most of the Midwest. They are often made at home during the winter holidays or before football games. Buckeyes are made by rolling a sweet peanut butter candy into a ball and dipping it in chocolate. Here at Winans, all our Buckeyes are hand-rolled from the same candy center used in our Peanut Butter Delights. They are then hand dipped in our sweet milk chocolate.
Buckeyes are not the first candy to combine chocolate and peanut butter. H.B. Reese created the most well-known early combo of the two in 1928 when he made the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It is possible that peanuts and chocolate were enjoyed together much earlier. The Aztecs, a Mesoamerican culture in central Mexico from 1300 to 1521, cultivated both peanuts and chocolate. They may or may not have combined the two, but if they did, it would not taste like anything we make at Winans. Sugar was not introduced to chocolate until after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in the 16th century. Sugar or honey was added to chocolate to reduce the bitterness and make it more palatable to Europeans.
Here at Winans, we combine peanut butter and chocolate a lot!
Our full list of peanut butter and chocolate creations include:
- Buckeyes (of course!)
- Buckeye Crunch
- Peanut Butter Delights
- Peanut Butter Delight Candy Bars
- Peanut Clusters
- Jumbo Decorated Peanut Butter Wetzels
In the fall we make Buckeye Apples and at Easter, we have Peanut Butter Eggs. We serve Buckeye Blend Coffee (hazelnut and chocolate flavored coffee) and Buckeye Frapps all year long! Our Buckeye Frapp contains real peanut butter along with chocolate sauce and our cold brew toddy!
What are your favorite ways to enjoy chocolate and peanut butter together?
History of Chocolate
Ohio State Buckeyes
The History of Peanut Butter
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
“My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”
– Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks in the 1994 film Forrest Gump
Life is full of surprises, that’s what this often quoted saying from the film Forrest Gump, means to illustrate. It’s a great analogy for people that like surprises, or for folks who like all different kinds of chocolates. We realize, though, that not everybody wants a surprise when they bite into a piece of candy.
That’s why we’ve created our Candy Key. Our Candy Key, along with a few helpful tips, will allow you to decode your box of Winans chocolates. Candy makers use similar techniques to make the centers of their chocolates which mean many candies will have similar shapes.
Here are some basic candy decoding rules to keep in mind:
- Rectangle and square pieces tend to have chewy or crunchy centers; like a caramel, peanut butter delight or toffee square.
- Round or oval candies have soft centers; like our candy creams and mint patties.
- Markings are used to indicate what is inside of a candy. Usually, the marking used on top of a candy is the first letter in the name of the candy; like “M” for meltaway or “B” for butter cream.
- Toppers are also placed on top of candies to give customers a hint as to what is inside. Our sea salt caramels are sprinkled with sea salt and our cookie dough creams are topped with mini chocolate chips.
And here is a key to our most popular box of chocolates, our 1 pound assorted gift box. This is a guide for how we package our gift boxes. Due to the seasonality of our production, sometimes there will be different candies included in a gift box, or they might be in a different spot. They will definitely still be a delicious assortment of our chocolates!
A list of all of our candies is also available on our website under Candy Key.
We’ve gone coconuts here at Winans Chocolates + Coffees! We’re featuring all of our favorite coconut sweet treats this summer, including a blast from the past: our coconut chews! We used to make coconut chews on a regular basis at Winans, but about ten years ago we debuted a new cream: coconut almond bliss. We’re not getting rid of coconut almond bliss, but our coconut chew is here to stay!
These are some of our favorite coconut treats:
Coconut Chew: chewy coconut enrobed in milk or dark chocolate
Coconut Almond Bliss: chocolate-covered coconut cream with almonds scattered throughout the chocolate
Coconut Haystacks: chocolate-covered coconut flakes
Coconut Brittle: coconut and peanut pieces that are buttery and crunchy with a touch of salt
Piña Colada Smoothie: non-alcoholic smoothie made with real pineapple puree and cream of coconut
Toasted Coconut Flavored Coffee: a customer favorite!
We recommend pairing our coconut treats with our fair trade and organic single origin Honduran coffee. This coffee has notes of lemon and a hint of caramel, which perfectly compliment the tropical coconut flavor of our coconut chews!
Coconuts are used around the world for a myriad of purposes – and not just for eating! Check out some of these fascinating facts about the coconut tree!
Fun facts about the coconut tree
- The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the palm family. Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, most of the world production is in tropical Asia.
- A coconut is not actually a nut, it is a fruit called a drupe. Other fruits that are drupes are mangos, olives, apricots, cherries, peaches, and coffee! A full-sized coconut weighs about 3 pounds.
- The word coconut is thought to have come from 16th-century Portuguese explorers who thought that the three holes on a coconut looked like a human face so they called the fruit “coco” meaning “grinning face, grin, or grimace.”
- Coconuts are known for their great versatility, virtually every part of the coconut palm is used by humans in some way. Coconuts are used as food, in cosmetics, in construction and building – even in religious ceremonies!
Coconut has a wide variety of culinary uses – though we like it best when it’s covered in chocolate! Coconut oil is used for cooking in its liquid form and as butter or lard in its solid form. Coconut meat can be eaten fresh or dried and is added to both sweet and savory dishes. Coconut flour is used in baking, it makes a great gluten-free flour alternative for those with gluten sensitivity.
Coconut water is consumed as a sports drink and contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It can ever be used as a substitute for blood plasma! The high level of sugar and other salts make it possible to add the water to the bloodstream, similar to how an IV solution works in modern medicine. Coconut water was used during World War II in tropical areas for emergency transfusions.
The apical buds of adult coconut palms are edible and are known as “palm cabbage” or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called “millionaire’s salad”.
Coconut is also widely used in the commercial, industrial and cosmetic industries. Coir, fiber from the husk of the coconut is made into ropes, mats, doormats, brushes, and sacks, as caulking for boats, and as stuffing fiber for mattresses. It is also used in horticulture in potting compost, especially in orchid mix. The leaves of the coconut palm can be made into toys, brooms, baskets, mats and roofing thatch. Coconut trunks are used for building small bridges and huts; they are preferred for their straightness, strength, and salt resistance.
Coconut is highly valued for use in the beauty industry as moisturizers and body butter. Due to the chemical structure of coconut oil, it is readily absorbed by the skin. It also used in cosmetics, hair oil, and massage oil. The coconut shell may also be ground down and added to products for exfoliation of dead skin.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy coconut?
Coconut From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fun Food Facts for Kids: Fun Coconut Facts
Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut? From the Best of RawFood
Mmmm… sweet and salty. A classic, yet unlikely flavor combination. At first glance, the union of sweet and salty sounds strange, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like it would taste good, but it does and we love it!
The savory flavor of salt enhances the sweetness of some of our favorite treats, just try sprinkling a little salt on your watermelon this summer, you’ll definitely notice a difference!
These are some fairly common examples of sweet and salty flavor combinations:
- Fruit and cheese plates
- Chocolate covered pretzels (or wetzels as they’re known at Winans)
- Trail mix with nuts and chocolate or dried fruit
- French fries dipped in a Wendy’s frosty (it’s an Ohio thing!)
- Peanuts and Dr. Pepper (it’s a southern thing!)
- Peanut butter and banana sandwiches…
You get the idea right? We could go on but we’re starting to get hungry!
The combination of salt with sweet, buttery caramel is one of our favorite new flavor pairings! This tasty union has seen a surge in popularity in the past 10 years. Salted caramels are a traditional treat hailing from Brittany, France. In the late 1990s and early 2000, American chefs became interested in the flavor combo after French pastry chef Pierre Hermé invented a salted caramel macaron.
This isn’t to say that salted caramel as a flavor was completely unfamiliar to Americans. Just think of chocolate turtles (like Winans’ wurtles), pralines and Cracker Jack, which was created in 1893.
We’ve been making caramels for over 50 years at Winans. We still use Max Winans’ original recipe for buttery rich and chewy caramels. For our sea salt caramels, which we debuted 5 years ago, we use fine sea salt instead of the regular salt in the caramel recipe. After the caramel is cooked in our copper kettles, we pour it onto steel tables to cool. Once fully cooled, we cut the caramels into bite-sized rectangles and cover them in milk or dark chocolate. While the chocolate is still warm and melted, we hand sprinkle a touch of Mediterranean sea salt on each one. Just a touch of salt to bring out a little extra sweetness.
Once the caramels run through a cooling tunnel they’re ready to be packaged into gift boxes or sent in stock boxes for filling the candy cases in our stores.
You could enjoy your sea salt caramel on its own, but if you’re also going to get coffee during your next trip to Winans, why not pair your brew with your sweet and salty treat? We recommend pairing a sea salt caramel with our single origin Indonesian Sumatra or Monsoon Malabar coffee or our Mo Joe Blend or Mokka Java Blend. These coffees have earthy notes that pair well with the sweet, buttery flavors of caramel. You also can’t go wrong with a salted caramel latte or our Salted Caramel flavored coffee!
The New York Times: How Caramel Developed a Taste for Salt
How Stuff Works: Why do sweet and salty taste so good together?
How Stuff Works: Who invented salted caramel?
All Recipes: Coffee Pairing
Our Everyday Life: Pairing Coffee with Desserts