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
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 article, Molds / More to them than chocolate!
Chocolate picks up any imperfections in the mold. Over time metal molds lose shine and are easily scratched, both the lack of shine and scratches would show up in the chocolate. With the plastic reproduction of our original molds we are able to carry on Max’s traditions while still creating beautifully molded chocolate! Our sitting and standing bunnies, as well as our bunnies with backpacks, walking sticks, carts, baskets (as well as Race Car Bunny!) are all cast from our original metal molds. The Floppy Ear Bunny and the Big Eye Bunny are much younger than our other bunnies.
Since we no longer use most of our original metal molds, we have them on display in our Hometown Store in Piqua! If you look closely at the molds, you might notice their manufacturing mark (many of them were made in Germany by Anton Reiche) or see where Max soldered the clips onto the mold. Most molds are multiple pieces and have to be clamped together with clips. To keep track of his clips and make the molds easier to use, Max soldered the clips onto one of the pieces of the mold. Today our plastic molds are held together with magnets!
In order to make our molded bunnies today, warm, tempered chocolate is poured into each mold. Then the molds have to be shaken in order to remove bubbles and evenly distribute the chocolate. The chocolate molds sit in a cold, refrigerated room until the chocolate is solidified and can be removed from the molds. Sometimes excess chocolate has to be trimmed or shaved from the bunny before it can be packaged and sent to a store or a customer at home.
Our bunnies are available in milk, dark and white chocolate. A few of our bunnies are also made in peanut butter. Our biggest bunny is Big Max, named after Max Winans! He weighs in at 20 pounds and was first introduced in 2013.
We hope that one of our many molded bunnies will be part of your family’s Easter tradition this year!
If you want to learn more about chocolate molds, check out these resources below:
Das Schokoladenformen Museum: The Chocolate Molds Museum
Dad’s Follies: Antiques & Collectibles Metal Chocolate Molds—The Beginning
The Golden Glow of Christmas Past: Vintage Christmas Collectibles Christmas Chocolate/Candy Molds