Benne Wafers

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Benne Wafers

star rating (11) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Benne wafers, ethereally light, snapping-crisp sesame cookies, are native to the "low country" of South Carolina. Sesame, a plant with a long history of cultivation, was probably first grown in Africa; West Africans, brought to this country as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries, called sesame "benne" and legend had it that eating sesame seeds brought good luck. Interestingly, Middle Easterners also called sesame seeds "benne;" there must have been trade routes that brought together buyers from the Middle East with African sellers. Food, as usual, seems to have been a key component in bringing cultures together.

These rich brown cookies, sweet and nutty, have an interesting texture: solid and crisp on the bottom, crunchy-light on top.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup toasted sesame seeds

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and egg. Add the flour and mix till smooth. Stir in the sesame seeds.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls (our tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) onto parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Bake the wafers in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, allow them to cool for 1 minute on the pan, then transfer the wafers to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 3 dozen 3-inch wafers.


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  • star rating 02/18/2015
  • rbb440 from KAF Community
  • I made these today for the first time. It won't be the last. These are soooo good. They have a great sesame flavor and are, as another reviewer described, "crisp and chewy at the same time". The recipe is fast and very easy to pull together. They can be ready in a short time without much effort. They package nicely stacked on top of one another in a plastic sleeve. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I'll be sure to share it with my friends getting the cookies as gifts.
  • star rating 12/13/2014
  • Jennifer from Buffalo, NY
  • My mother used to make a very similar cookie when I was a child. She lost the recipe and this is almost identical. The cookies are both crisp and chewy. Wonderful!!
  • star rating 12/04/2014
  • April from Dillonvale, oh
  • A family favorite!!
  • star rating 10/31/2014
  • kush16486 from KAF Community
  • Very nice flavour. Mine came out totally chewy, rather than crispy, and were murder to get off the baking sheets. Next time - and there WILL be a next time - I'll use parchment paper and bake them a little longer
  • star rating 06/29/2014
  • Karen from Portage, MI
  • These cookies are the Best! Easy to make and delicious to eat and yes addictive.
  • star rating 06/26/2014
  • layla from curacao
  • I made this recipee twice. So crispy and so light and I have always loved sesame seed. So I will always have these wafers in stock. And they are so easy to make. Thank you for sharing.
  • star rating 09/08/2013
  • Bella from London, UK
  • Excellent, lighter ans crisper cookies than I expected!
  • star rating 06/11/2010
  • Michelle Ann Anderson from Eagle, ID
  • My 8 year old and I made these...fabulous! Be warned, they are rather addictive!
  • star rating 04/30/2010
  • Rosemarie G from East Hampstead, NH
  • I really love these cookies and so does everyone who's tried them. Had my first Benne Wafers down south and had looked for recipe ever since. Really easy and fast to make too!
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