Caramel Apples: the Flavor of Fall

Caramel Apples: the Flavor of Fall

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.

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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!
Sources:
A History of the Caramel Apple
Apple
Caramel Apples–More Tips
How to Cut and Serve Perfect Caramel Apple Slices
Malus
The History of Caramel & Candy Apples

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Buckeyes: the Perfect Combination of Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Buckeyes: the Perfect Combination of Chocolate + Peanut Butter

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?
Sources:
History of Chocolate
Ohio
Ohio State Buckeyes
The History of Peanut Butter
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

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Why Winans and Autumn…Just Go Together!

Fall Banner blogBy: Cheyenne Walters and Laurie Winans Reiser
Even though the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas are on our minds, fall is one of our favorite times of year here at Winans. It has cooled off enough that we can start shipping our product all over the country and world again. This cooler weather makes a freshly roasted and brewed cup of Winans coffee even tastier in the mornings. During the cool months of October and November you can expect to see us celebrating several events and holidays.
Caramel apples are a much anticipated, traditional product at Winans for the month of October. Ever since Laurie’s dad, Max, sold caramel apples at the Piqua Central football games over 40 years ago, the town and county have had quite a fondness for this fall treat. Special apples in addition to caramel, are those with nuts, chocolate dipped and a new OHIO favorite, the “Buckeye Apple”. The Buckeye Apple is combines rich peanut butter fudge and chocolate!! Pumpkin fudge is another fall favorite that was carry through the month of November. These popular products add a lot more work for the factory workers, last week alone they dipped 1,100 apples!!
Another October tradition for Winans is to support breast cancer awareness, we carry some ‘pink’ product in the store and a percentage of those profits go towards the Susan G. Komen foundation for research on breast cancer prevention and treatment.
October is also the month for Halloween! We’ve got plenty of treats decorated for Halloween lovers; even gift wrap and bows to dress up gift boxes to fit the Halloween theme. Nutter-Butter ghost cookies seem to be a favorite for Grandmothers wanting to give their little goblins something special on Beggar’s Night!!
This week there are two holidays to celebrate as well. Friday the 16th is Boss’ Day, let your boss know that you appreciate all the hard work they do by getting them something special—like a gift card or a few pieces of chocolate. Or, you can make yourself the new favorite by presenting a gift box of chocolates and a bag of coffee (who wouldn’t love that?!) Saturday the 17th is Sweetest Day, and we all know what that means…it’s time to remind your sweetie how much they mean to you. We suggest a travel mug and a pound of their favorite coffee all wrapped up in a bow, something practical, yet special. Or a box of Buckeyes to share during the Penn State game!! All our stores have ready-to-give gifts so you can get home to your sweetie faster with something special.
Moving into November, Santa’s elves will be decorating our stores around the second week to help you start thinking about everything from corporate gifts to stocking stuffers in plenty of time for the big holiday!
The semi-annual coffee sale will be taking place the weekend before Thanksgiving. As always the sale is—buy 1lb of coffee, get the second half price. Remember, what makes our coffee so special is it’s freshness, so buy what you can gift and use in a reasonable time frame. Oh, and don’t miss the annual Troy Square tree lighting, the day after Thanksgiving!
While the fall weather is making everyone crave those yummy hot apple ciders and pumpkin pie lattes, the hustle and bustle truly has begun from the Winans crew. We couldn’t be more excited for the season since we have already had such a great year so far! Cheers to rounding out a successful 2015.

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