Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Benne Wafers

Did you know these tiny sesame seeds are rich in calcium, vitamins B and E, iron and zinc, and high in protein and contain no cholesterol?'s true! Mighty power packed little seed!
The benne wafer is unique to the Charleston, South Carolina area. It is said that probably slaves brought the seeds from Africa and sowed a few at the head of each row in plantation gardens to bring good luck.
I love the flavor of sesame seeds and toasting really brings out the caramel flavor.
I found this recipe in the book "America's Best Lost Recipes" by the editors of Cook's Country Magazine.
Although the cookie has that wonderful sesame and buttery taste, I wasn't too happy with the soft texture. After I took the cookies out of the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets, they were still soft and pliable, which is to be expected. But once they had cooled completely, they were still soft. The only way they hardened was to pop them into the fridge but once back out they softened again.
First I thought it was because I only had a drop of light brown sugar and used more of the dark brown. But after researching other recipes, I see it varies, using dark brown or light brown. But, it was my first try at these and I'll give it another shot. Maybe I'll try a different recipe.
If anyone has made these before and can shed some light on how these are supposed to be, hard and crunchy or soft and pliable, please let me know!

Anyway, toast your sesame seeds first in a heavy dry skillet.

Til they're a nice golden brown. This will take a few minutes so be patient!

Once you've made the dough, scoop out heaping teaspoonfuls onto your parchment lined cookie sheet.

They will spread quite a bit so space them about 2" apart.

Benne Wafers ( from "America's Best Lost Recipes Cookbook")
Makes 36 cookies

1/2 cup AP flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brwon sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sesame seeds ( I think I'd use a little more next time).

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. In mixer bowl on medium high speed, beat butter and sugar til fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Reduce speed to medium and beat in egg and vanilla til combined.
4. Add the flour mixture and beat til incorporated.
5. Fold in the sesame seeds.
6. Drop heaping teaspoon sized portions onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.
7. Bake til tops of the cookie bubble and edges turn deep brown, about 9 minutes. ( Mine took a few minutes longer).
8. Cool cookies on baking sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes.
** Cookies can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 days.**


  1. LOOL..we used the same recipe!

    Mine were too crisp according to my Charleston friend :) I think they are to be slighly crisp..but he said this recipe was the correct flavor. I did add a small drop of toasted sesame oil to mine...( not written on my blog) I need to add it :)

    I can let you know for sure ....

  2. Hey, thanks for letting me know! If yours were too crisp I definitely need to make these again. I did see this recipe which I'm going to try.

  3. He just texted me..yes crispy, but not too crispy as mine were. I think my edges were too thin, as you can see by my pic. Your edges do not look brown enough?..maybe you needed to bake them longer? :/

    Anyway..that new recipe looks great too... I will be waiting to see :)

  4. Neat recipe! I'm going to have to give this one a whirl.



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