Benne Wafers

Benne WafersBenne Wafers are a staple of Lowcountry cuisine with West African roots. The benne—or sesame—seed is the star of these traditional treats.

Benne Wafers
Makes 35
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread sesame seeds in a single layer on prepared pan. Toast until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Line rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or lightly grease with vegetable oil.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg, beating well. Beat in zest and vanilla.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Beat in toasted sesame seeds. Using a 2-teaspoon scoop, drop batter 3 inches apart onto prepared pans. (Cookies will spread.)
  6. Bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on pans for 1 minute. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container with layers separated by wax paper.
Kitchen Tip: Package these treats in a pretty gift bag or box to give to loved ones.

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