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.

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

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

How to Garden with Burlap

How to Garden with Burlap

We go through a lot of burlap bags here at Winans! Every week we roast approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee! The green coffee is delivered to our roastery in downtown Piqua in large burlap bags. These burlap bags weigh roughly 150 pounds and are full of our specialty green coffee beans.
You can buy our empty burlap bags in our stores.
Burlap is a wonderful item to use in your garden! It is inexpensive, biodegradable and has a myriad of uses:

Burlap Uses in the Garden
🌷Loosely cover plants with burlap to provide a little frost protection, or wrap evergreens that are prone to damage from the weight of heavy snow.
🌷Create a burlap barricade to stop deer and rabbits from nibbling on your fruit trees and bushes in the winter.
🌷Hang a length of burlap over a veggie bed to create shade when the summer sun is just too hot for crops like salad greens.
🌷If you’ve prepared a new garden bed but you’re not ready to plant it, you can use pieces of burlap cloth over top (weighed down with rocks) to prevent weed growth.

🌷Use burlap instead of pre-formed coir liners in your pots and planters and save some money. Hold it in place with binder clips.
🌷Disguise ugly pots and containers by wrapping them in burlap.
🌷Block drainage holes with scraps of burlap. This will allow excess water out, without leaking soil.
🌷Old pieces of burlap work great for dragging mounds of yard waste, like piles of fall leaves.
🌷Burlap can also be used instead of fabric for many garden decorations.

Our Favorite Burlap Garden Projects
A Garden in a Sack
Frugal Gardening: Growing Food in Burlap Sacks
How to Grow Potatoes in Coffee Sacks
How To Make Coffee Bag Planter Pots
How to Plant Edibles in Burlap Sacks
Laundry Basket Turned Strawberry Planter
Wrapping Plants In Burlap: How To Use Burlap For Protecting Plants 

Need more inspiration? Check out our board, DIY: Burlap Coffee Bags, on Pinterest! Be sure to also read our blog post, How to Craft with Burlap!
Have you used our burlap bags in your garden? Share your project with us on social media! Be sure to use the hashtag #WinansBurlap with your post!

How to Craft with Burlap

How to Craft with Burlap

Here at Winans, we have a plethora of burlap coffee bags! Every week we roast approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee! Green coffee is delivered to our roastery in downtown Piqua in large burlap bags. These burlap bags weigh roughly 150 pounds and are full of our specialty green coffee beans. Burlap is a great item for craft and sewing projects! It has a unique texture and many bags have interesting farm and co-op logos printed on them.
You can buy our empty burlap bags in our stores.
These are some of our top tips and tricks for working with burlap:

Tips + Tricks
✂ Burlap is messy! If you can, cut your burlap outside, as the fabric sheds everywhere. Be sure to clean the dust from your scissors and sewing machine regularly too.
✂ Use a rotary cutter or very sharp fabric scissors to cut thick burlap.
✂ Follow the thread grain to cut straight lines and add a little extra space for your seam allowance as burlap tends to fray.

✂ Use a heavy-weight thread, the thicker your thread, the easier it will be for your stitches to grab onto the burlap weave.
✂ Line your burlap with interfacing or a heavy, stabilizing fabric to give your project structure.
✂ Finish raw edges with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying, you can also use a liquid sealant like Fray Check to stop tears or holes from spreading.
✂ Use a high setting to iron burlap, it helps get rid of wrinkles.

Our Favorite Burlap Crafts: 
DIY: Burlap Coffee Bag Art
Burlap Coasters and Placemats
Burlap Coffee Bag Pillow
Burlap Covered Storage Box
Burlap Flower Bouquet
Burlap Office Chair Makeover
Burlap Peg Bag
Burlap Tote with Shabby Rose
DIY Burlap Coffee Bag Ottoman
Using Burlap in Unexpected Ways – a Rug and a Cat Bed
Acorn Autumn Burlap Banner
Christmas Gifts with Burlap Name Tags

Need more inspiration? Check out our board, DIY: Burlap Coffee Bags, on Pinterest! Be sure to also read our blog post, How to Garden with Burlap!
Have you made something out of one of our burlap bags? Share your project with us on social media! Be sure to use the hashtag #WinansBurlap with your post!

Winans Candy Guide

Winans Candy Guide

“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.

DIY: Coffee Jar Terrarium

DIY: Coffee Jar Terrarium

A cute coffee jar terrarium is a great way to bring a little nature indoors, and show your love of a good cup of joe!
If you don’t already happen to have a small glass coffee jar, you can purchase one at a craft store or you could repurpose a different coffee container like a coffee pot or even a French press! These basic terrarium building rules can be applied to any container. The other items you will need can be purchased at any home improvement or gardening store.
The three main components needed in a terrarium are pebbles for drainage, charcoal to clean and purify the water and soil for the plants to grow in. The most important thing to remember when making a terrarium is drainage. A container like a glass coffee jar doesn’t have a drainage hole, but you can create drainage with pebbles in the bottom of the container.

To make your own coffee jar terrarium you will need:

  • 1 glass coffee jar, or another container with a lid
  • small pebbles
  • potting soil
  • charcoal
  • small terrarium plants or mosses
  • larger pebbles or other decorative items
  • water
  • spoon (optional)

Add Gravel
Before beginning the project, make sure your glass jar is thoroughly washed and dried. Once your container is ready, add the pebbles. You’ll want a small layer, about a 1-2 inches deep. If you’re using a large container, you can add more pebbles.
Add Charcoal
Sprinkle or spoon a layer of charcoal over the pebbles, about 1-2 inches thick. Add a layer of potting soil, about ½ to 1 inch deep.
Add Plants
If using small terrarium plant(s), take them out of the container you purchased them in. Gently tease the root ball so it’s a bit loose before setting the plant in the jar, on top of the soil.
Add Potting Soil
Once your plants are sitting where you would like them, add potting soil around them. It’s easiest if you pre-moisten your potting soil with a bit of water before adding it to your container. Dry soil will get everywhere, but if your soil is damp or wet you will have more control. It’s easiest to spoon a little bit of soil into a plastic container, add water and stir before adding the damp soil to the jar. You can also use a spoon to add soil to the jar. Be sure to fill in all of the empty spots with soil and that the soil is level and even.
If you’re using moss, you can add a couple spoonfuls of potting soil to the jar, make small depressions in the soil and set the clump(s) of moss in the depressions.
Add Decor
Now it’s time for a decorative touch! We used a small glow-in-the-dark sun from the fairy garden section at our local gardening store. Fairy garden decor is perfect for a terrarium, though any small items can be used, a little plastic animal or another trinket just adds a little something extra!
Add Lid
Be sure to keep the needs of your plants in mind when caring for your coffee jar terrarium. Some plants need more light than others and you may need to occasionally water them if your jar does not seal air tight. If you use our DIY instructions and make your own coffee jar terrarium, please share with us on social media! We’d love to see what you create!