Benne Wafers are a staple of Lowcountry cuisine with West African roots. The benne—or sesame—seed is the star of these traditional treats.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread sesame seeds in a single layer on prepared pan. Toast until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
- Line rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or lightly grease with vegetable oil.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.