Today we Celebrate that Delectable combination of layered Chocolate that has peanut butter sandwiched in between. What do we call this treat? We call it the Peanut Butter Cup. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are so good that it has made people throughout all Generations Drool. so, today we will be Celebrating its Inventor; Harry Burnett Reese, and its Birthday which is November 15, 1928. This Celebration is held annually on May 18th. In 2010, Hershey sponsored an online petition to declare May 18 as I Love Reese’s® Day, and it was signed by 40,000 fans. May was chosen as the time because the holiday would then be sandwiched between National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day in March, and Chocolate Day in July. As part of the first celebration, Reese’s gave away 10,000 Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups.
Harry Burnett Reese
Reese was born May 24, 1879. His place of birth was Frosty Hill, Pennsylvania (York County). Harry was born into a farming family. He was the son of Aquilla Asbury Reese Jr and Annie Belinda Manifold Reese.
He worked the land and milked cows, dairy-operation skills that would come in handy.
He even built a pond and expanded into raising frogs — and sold them to restaurants.
Side note: you can eat the legs of a Bullfrog.
He enjoyed music and mastered the French horn, playing in a local band in his late teens.
By age 21 he was a married man, saying vows with the love of his life, Blanche Hyson.
Married On August 1, 1900
Harry and Blanche had 16 Children together. 8 daughters and 8 sons (13 of whom survived to adulthood).
- Mary Elizabeth Reese
- Robert Hyson Reese
- John Manifold Reese
- Ann Alfreda Reese
- Edward Irons Reese
- F Marjorie Marie Reese
- Ralph Collins Reese
- Helen Grace Reese
- Clara Louise Reese
- Frances Turner Reese
- Mildred Jane Reese
- Rose Reese
- Harry Burnett Reese
- Thomas Reese
- Charles Richard Reese
- William Reese
It helped that she came from a well-to-do family. “The support H.B. received from his father-in-law played a big part in his family’s early survival,” In 1921, His father-in-law, Robert Hyson, bought a home for the Reese family in Hershey to help. The home was located at 18 E. Areba Avenue in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
By 1903, Reese was managing the fishing operations of his father-in-law’s cannery business located in Ditchley, Virginia.
In 1912 he managed a dairy farm in Woodbine, Pennsylvania, but took a factory job in New Freedom, Pennsylvania in 1915 to support his growing family.
Hershey hired Reese to work as a dairyman at Farm 28-A.
In 1918, Hershey asked Reese to manage a dairy farm called the Round Barn. Milton Hershey visited the Round Barn every two weeks because it was an experimental dairy farm that used new milking machines (more efficient than milking cows by hand) as he sought new approaches to animal treatment and milk production.
However by 1919, Hershey found the Round Barn too expensive to operate and closed it down.
Jobless in 1919, Reese formed a new business called the R&R Candy Company that he operated from an old canning factory located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania where he manufactured milk chocolate covered almonds and raisins, selling them to local stores.
In 1921 he returned to Hershey. Reese began working at The Hershey Company factory in the shipping department and was soon promoted to foreman.
On the side, working from the basement of his Areba Avenue home, he made a variety of confectionery products including hard candy, chocolate covered nuts and raisins, mint (candy) as well as two popular milk chocolate covered caramel-coconut candy bars that he invented:
The Lizzie Bar named for his oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth.
And the Johnny Bar named for his son, John, who worked alongside his father in The Hershey Company shipping department.
The ingredients for both bars included freshly grated coconut, caramel, molasses, cocoa butter, and honey. The main difference between the two bars was that the Johnny Bar had nuts as an ingredient. From the very beginning, Reese used chocolate manufactured by The Hershey Company for his chocolate coatings.
Reese enjoyed enough success to finally quit his factory job at The Hershey Company and set out on his own to “make a living” manufacturing candy.
Harry’s luck Changes
After rotating between farming and managing his father-in-law’s fishing business, Reese found his calling in 1916.
He came upon a newspaper ad by Milton Hershey, who wanted people to operate dairy farms that helped create his milk chocolate.
Reese had the experience and was hired by Hershey himself.
Making Confections and his own Businesses
- The two got to know each other and began a lifelong friendship. When Reese learned that Hershey made $75 a minute, the younger man thought of starting his own candy business.
- In 1917, H.B. Reese began working on a Hershey dairy farm.
- In the early 1920s, he started working at a Hershey candy factory.
- He quit Hershey’s and formed the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1923. the year he turned 44.
- He created a wide variety of candies and was successful enough to build a new factory and home in 1926.
- Reese invented Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups in 1928.
- Since he sold them for only a penny at the time, they were known as “penny cups.”
In the 1930’s Reese first sold the peanut butter candy as part of an assortment. Then one of his salesmen said the special sweets would sell on their own, and the boss was convinced.
So between 1930-1935 the individually wrapped Reeses peanut butter cup was produced.
The penny peanut butter cup was the candy that helped Reese pay off the mortgages on both his house and factory by 1935.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Reese gained and gave.
Since he sold his candy on consignment, he wouldn’t be paid until the product sold, so cash flow could be a problem. Once, he had no money for chocolate and was turned down for credit by the Hershey company. Milton Hershey intervened and directed that Reese be supplied on faith and trust.
A sign on a phone pole outside Reese’s home said that the homeless and hoboes were welcome to eat there. Reese also offered employment to anyone seeking work.
By 1935, H.B.’s company had 62 employees, in addition to his six sons, working at the factory.
Driving the business were the peanut butter cups, packaged in 120 pieces per box and sold for a penny per cup. Customers were department stores and other venues.
Andrew notes that with the country in economic trouble before World War II, chocolate was considered a luxury, and yet demand for Reese’s products was solid.
H.B. created such a positive work environment — paying his employees more than the going rate — that they voted not to unionize.
“He built a fishing lodge and had a boat that he made available to his factory workers for a very small fee,” Andrew said. “H.B. Reese helped those around him, and in return these same people bent over backward to help him out.”
After a short illness, H.B. Reese died at the St. Mary’s Medical Center located in West Palm Beach, Florida. of a myocardial infarction Reese died on May 16th of 1956 at the age of 76 in West Palm Beach, Florida (where Reese had been vacationing) leaving the company to his six sons, Robert, John, Ed, Ralph, Harry, and Charles Richard Reese. In 1963, they decided to sell the business to the Hershey’s Chocolate Company, where Reese had gotten his start close to 50 years before.
Fun Facts about Reese’s Peanut butter cups
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a good source of protein. A standard serving packs five grams of it, about the equivalent of a handful of almonds or a half a cup of chickpeas.
- Way back when they were called “penny cups.” The peanut butter confections were given the name because that was the going price per piece. They proved so popular that creator Harry Burnett Reese was able to quit his job at the Hershey Chocolate Company and focus on setting up his own empire.
- There have been over 20 variations of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, that had been sold as limited edition cups for various occasions, such as; Christmas, Halloween & Valentine’s Day.
- The largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup weighs 8oz, and is sold in packs of two on the official Reese’s site for anybody to buy.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the most popular candies sold in the U.S during Halloween time.
- The fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is Arachibutyrophobia – try pronouncing that one!
75+ Recipes Using Reese’s Cups
The H.B. Reese Candy Company Story
Recipes on video
How to make Reese peanut butter chocolate cupcakes
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp coffee or espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 12 full size Reese peanut butter cups
- 12 mini Reese peanut butter cups
- nuts (optional)
- 1/2 unsalted butter
- 1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky natural)
- 2 cups powdered/icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- pinch of salt
- Cream the butter, brown sugar and white sugar together.
- Once creamed, add the egg to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
- Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract once the egg is mixed.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder in a separate bowl.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure all flour is incorporated. Once the first half is thoroughly mixed, add the 2nd half and combine.
- Once the batter is mixed you can begin to fill the cupcake liners. Fill the liners 1/4 of the way up with batter and then place a full size Reese cup in the center. Add more batter to the cup covering the Reese until the cupcake liners are 75% filled.
- Once filled, tap and shake the tray to remove any air bubbles and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 mins. The cupcakes will be done when a toothpick poked into the edge of the cupcake will come out clean.
- To make the butter cream add butter, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt to your mixer and beat to combine. I used chunky because I like having some peanuts mixed in for texture, smooth will work fine.
- Add half your powdered sugar, mix, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the 2nd half of the powdered sugar and combine.
- Once all the sugar is mixed add the milk and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Pipe the butter cream once the cupcakes are cool. Roll the decorated cupcakes in chopped up nuts and drizzle with tempered chocolate or chocolate ganache. (optional)
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