Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nutter Butter Flip Flops & Sandy Bottom Pretzels

+ Beach Themed Party or Shower Ideas

My coworker Jen is getting married in May in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Traditionally, our office holds small after-work parties to celebrate events such as upcoming weddings and babies. My fellow coworkers and I began planning Jen's shower about a month ago and last Thursday was the big day. We scrounged up all of our beach themed decor, made some creative homemade favors and threw a really great shower on a small budget.

The shower was held at Gilligan's which is an upscale bar and dining room in Harrisburg. Gilligan's was graciously willing to accommodate a small group of 15 with separate checks, which is surprisingly hard to come by these days. This was our first time holding a party at Gilligan's and both the service and food were great! For favors, each guest received a small bag filled with a Nutter Butter Flip Flop and Sandy Bottom Pretzels (recipes below). We created inexpensive centerpieces out of sand, candles and seashells (all of which we had at home or found on sale). For dessert I baked funfetti cupcakes at Jen's request, with strawberry swiss meringue frosting topped with pearlized sprinkles.

We only played one game at the shower, a version of the Newlywed Game, in which Jen had to answer questions we had previously asked Kyle. Jen's answers didn't quite match up to some of Kyle's answers, but hey, how was she to know he would buy a Raptor truck if he won the lottery? Prizes for the game were stained glass votive candle holders (a Pinterest find), beach scented votive candles, seashell bath bombs and movie theater sized boxes of candy.

Nutter Butter Flip Flops (or flippy floppies, if you're on a boat... with T-Pain)
Makes about 24 flip flops

1 package Nutter Butter cookies
1 1/2 cup candy melts, milk chocolate or almond bark (the color is up to you)
decorative sprinkles or candy
pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip made for writing (I used a #3 round tip)

Place the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the candy melts in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue to melt the candies in 10 second increments, stirring after each increment, until smooth. Transfer the melted candy melts to a pastry bag fitted with the decorating tip.

With the pastry bag, pipe the chocolate onto the cookie to resemble the thong of a flip flop. Place a sprinkle flower or other edible decor into the middle of the piped straps. Allow the cookies to cool until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve or wrap in gift bags.

Sandy Bottom Pretzels
Makes about 60 pretzels

2 bags Flipz chocolate covered pretzels (they come in dark, milk or white)
1 1/2 cups blue candy melts 
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Freeze the pretzels for about a half an hour (this helps to keep the chocolate on the pretzels from melting in your hand while you dip them).

Pour the candy melts into a microwave safe bowl. Melt the candy melts in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue to melt the candies in 10 second increments, stirring after each increment, until smooth.

Dip the bottom of each pretzel into the blue candy melts. Shake off the excess chocolate and immediately dip the pretzel into the graham cracker crumbs. Place the pretzel on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry.

When the chocolate has set, store the pretzels in an airtight container until ready to serve.

The Shower in Pictures

Jen and Kyle, the bride and groom to be.
The main centerpiece.
The cupcake table.
The setup before the guests arrived.
Another centerpiece
Funfetti cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
The favor bags, complete with a seashell "thank you" tag designed by my coworker Natalie.

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