Wands at the ready, wizards, magic is afoot at Anna Bananas Bakery in Stafford.
Owner Jessica Errico has transformed her bakery and candy store into a version of Honeydukes, the beloved sweet shop depicted in the Harry Potter books and movies, for her annual Harry Potter Week. There are cups of creamy butterbeer, Sorting Hat-topped cupcakes, and pudding parfaits topped with fondant mandrakes, a magical plant from the story.
Potter fans will notice that winged keys (like those featured in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) hang overhead; the Sorting Hat (a magical cap that sorts young wizards into their houses at the wizarding school, Hogwarts) sits at the ready; and Dobby the House Elf (a sweet creature who first appears in "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets") keeps watch from atop a bakery case.
Errico began hosting Harry Potter Week as a way to fill the quiet time between summer and the fall holidays at the bakery. She was inspired by her fiancé, a Potter fan, and "the ideas just started coming."
"I love Harry Potter, love the idea of it ... and every September (we have) Harry Potter Week," she said.
"It started with butterbeer cookies, and Sorting Hats and butterbeer cupcakes, and that week was crazy," Errico said of the first year. "We weren't expecting so many people to show up. We had kids showing up in their capes and their costumes."
Last year, she added butterbeer, the most popular drink in the books and movies. The bakery's version is made with cream soda, butter flavoring and butterscotch flavoring and topped with thick whipped cream and caramel syrup ($5; have it "Hagrid's Way," with crushed cookies and candies, for $6).
There's also butterbeer cupcakes, made from vanilla cupcakes topped with butterscotch-caramel buttercream frosting; chocolate cupcakes with frosting Sorting Hats; and one topped with a Golden Snitch ($5.50).
Butterbeer cookies are a butterscotch cookie with white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips ($4), and frosted sugar cookies are decorated with wizard robes and Harry's trademark black glasses and lightning bolt scar.
Go: Harry Potter Week runs through Sunday, Sept. 24. The bakery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, 657 E. Bay Ave., Manahawkin section of Stafford; 609-488-2323, annabananasbakerynj.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Harry Potter: Get a taste of butterbeer at Jersey Shore bakery