Sea Salt Caramels

Sea Salt Caramels

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...
Happy Pretzel Day

Happy Pretzel Day

National Pretzel Day is April 26th! To celebrate, Winans is offering 25% off all chocolate-covered pretzels Tuesday April 26th through Sunday May 1st! To help you get in the spirit of National Pretzel Day, here are some fun facts about one of our favorite snacks: The first National Pretzel Day was declared in 1983 by Robert S. Walker. Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell re-declared the holiday in April of 2003. Pretzels are one of the world’s oldest snacks, dating back to 610 AD in Southern France. Monks folded thin scraps of dough into the shape of a child’s arms folded in prayer. They added salt and baked them, making the first pretzels. Pretzels were originally called pretiola, which is Latin for “little reward.” Next the name evolved to brachiola, which means “little arms” in Italian. When pretzels made their way to Austria and Germany they were called “bretzels.” The knotted shape of pretzels has represented many different things, from the Holy Trinity in the Catholic church to the bond of marriage. It’s where the phrase “tying the knot” originated! Hard pretzels are a more recent snack. They are thought to have been created in the late 1600s when a baker in Pennsylvania forgot a batch of pretzels in the oven. The pretzels were dark and hard, but the baker tried them anyway and loved how crunchy they were. Pretzels were made by hand until 1935 when an automated machine was created, allowing factory bakeries to make 245 pretzels per minute! Southeastern Pennsylvania is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry, and many pretzel bakeries are still located in the...
The Bunnies Are Back!

The Bunnies Are Back!

Spring is almost here and the bunnies are back at Winans! We’ve been busy at the factory making marshmallow, bagging up novelty Easter candies and of course, making lots and lots of chocolate bunnies! Winans has been making chocolate molds for over 50 years! Chocolatiers began using chocolate molds in the mid-1830s in France. These molds were made of sheet copper, stamped with geometric shapes to make solid chocolate candies in mass quantities. Prior to the advent of chocolate molds, chocolate was consumed in liquid form only. As the popularity of molded chocolate rose, small animals and other figures were also created in mold form. Max Winans, founder of Winans, used metal molds from Germany. Many of the metal molds that Winans owns were made by Anton Reiche. Some are just marked as being from West Germany. Anton Reiche is a famous mold manufacturer from Dresden, Germany. He founded his mold company in 1870. German mold manufacturers excelled at making chocolate molds in a variety of sizes with incredible detail and designs. Molds of sitting rabbits or bunnies are the most common of the antique chocolate molds. We still make many of the molds that Max Winans first made at Winans in the 1960s, but we no longer use the original metal molds. Max took the metal molds and had them recast in plastic. This allows us to make more bunny molds at a time and results in a higher quality mold. In March of 1978, the Piqua Daily Call published an article about the large collection of chocolate molds Max had acquired over the years. Check out the...
Recipe: Valentine’s Surprise Brownies

Recipe: Valentine’s Surprise Brownies

  Mmmm… brownies with Winans candies? Yes, please! These fabulous brownies are super chocolate-y with a texture in between cake-y and fudge-y. They’re also full of hidden Winans deluxe Valentine’s mix in festive red, white and pink colors!     They’re super easy to make and are delicious. We’ve got the recipe for you below. Use it for any of your leftover Winans candy (we’re kidding, obviously, hide some of your Winans until you’re ready to make these brownies). We think it’s delicious with any of our seasonal deluxe mixes!     Winans Valentine’s Surprise Brownies Makes 9×13 pan of brownies (24 individual brownies) Ingredients: Canola oil 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 ½ cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 4 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour* ½ cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon espresso, finely ground ½ cup Winans deluxe Valentine’s mix candies, cut larger pieces into small half-bite pieces Directions: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil so that it extends up the sides and over the edges of the pan. Coat the foil generously with canola oil. Place the chopped unsweetened chocolate and butter into a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir until both the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat and let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, whisk well. Add the melted chocolate mixture. Stir in the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Pour half of the batter and...

It’s All About the Wurtle

  What’s a Wurtle? Wurtles are Winans’ version of the whimsically named chocolate turtle. Chocolate turtles were created by Johnson’s Candy Company in 1918 when a salesman pointed out a candy to one of the candy dippers, who said that it looked like a turtle. Johnson’s Candy Company began selling these chocolate covered pecan and caramel treats as “turtles” shortly after. Today many candy companies offer their own version of the chocolate turtle, some are even made in turtle shaped chocolate molds! At Winans we make our wurtles the old fashioned way, by hand, with soft and chewy caramel, delicious roasted nuts and smooth milk or dark chocolate. The caramel is cooked in our original copper kettles, then poured into a depositor which drops evenly spaced dollops of caramel onto wooden trays of roasted nuts. The caramel is allowed to settle before the final step: the chocolate enrober! Each morsel of caramel and nuts is sent down the enrober to be fully enveloped in Winans rich milk or dark chocolate. The result? A delicious combination of our buttery, chewy caramel nut patty covered in chocolate: a wurtle.     Chocolate covered pecans have been a popular chocolate convection since the early 1900s, which might explain why our milk chocolate pecan wurtles are our most popular wurtle! In addition to pecan, Winans wurtles are also made with almonds and cashews. To discover your favorite wurtle, we recommend trying one of each of our six wurtles, just to be sure!: Milk Chocolate Pecan Dark Chocolate Pecan Milk Chocolate Cashew Dark Chocolate Cashew Milk Chocolate Almond Dark Chocolate Almond Winans loves wurtles so...

Make Winans Part of Your New Year Resolutions Part II: Mesocacao Chocolate

  Dark chocolate, like Winans Mesocacao chocolate, is a healthy indulgence you can include in your New Year’s Resolutions to be healthier in 2016. Mesocacao is a single origin (bean to bar) chocolate line that Winans uses to make delicious chocolate bars. Our very own Joe Reiser has visited the cacao farms in Honduras and Nicaragua to help with the process of transforming raw cacao into chocolate. Cacao has many health benefits and the best way to get a high dose of cacao is to try our Mesocacao chocolates. These lovely chocolate bars, molded with an intricate, geometric cocoa pod design, have the highest cacao content of all the chocolate Winans offers. Mesocacao bars are a great way to experience chocolate in its purest form. Joe Reiser, Winans owner, has a personal relationship with the cacao farmers and helped produce the first batch of this unique chocolate in Honduras. Nothing extra like preservatives, lecithin or additional sweeteners are added to the chocolate before they reach your palette. The taste of the Mesocacao chocolate is fantastic with a wonderful texture and consistency. The Honduran chocolate is fruity with notes of dates and cranberries while the Nicaraguan chocolate has more of a nutty taste, reminiscent of a French roast. In case you need more encouragement, these are just some of the benefits of cacao: Improves weight loss: cacao can help stabilize your blood sugar, increase metabolism, control your appetite and reduce cravings. Improves mood: cacao increase the amount of time anandamide, nicknamed “the bliss molecule”  stays in the body. Dark chocolate also decreases the production of stress hormones in the body....