Saturday, December 24, 2011

Benne Seed Wafers

I make these yummy wafers every Christmas. Well, I have for the last three years. They are so good. So much better than the benne seed wafers that you buy here in Charleston. Benne seed is the what the slaves in the Lowcountry called sesame seeds.  

This excerpt about benne comes from the Charleston Receipts cookbook, America's oldest Junior League cookbook in print:

"According to legend among descendants of slaves along the coast of Charleston, benne is a good luck plant for those who eat thereof or plant in their gardens. It was originally brought in by the slaves from West Africa to this Coastal region."

You NEED to make these. They are buttery, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Be cannot eat just one.

And, they were made to go with one of these. If you're in to that sort of thing. And I am very in to that sort of thing.

Benne Seed Wafers
1 cup sesame seeds, roasted (you can find these with the sushi in your grocery store)
2 1/2 cups firmly pack light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cream the sugar, butter, and eggs until very light--about 5 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir well with a spatula. Add the vanilla. Stir in the sesame seeds. Drop by 1/2 teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.  They will bake into perfect quarter/silver dollar-sized circles.
Bake until edges are browned, but not burned, 14 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheets, then peel off. Store in an airtight container.

*This makes A LOT of cookies....A LOT. They make great gifts wrapped in cellophane with a pretty Christmas-y ribbon.

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