Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sesame Cookies (Benne Wafers)

We recently had an abundance of sesame seeds in the food pantry. We offered these traditional South Carolina benne wafers as samples to patrons, for an idea on how to use the sesame seeds.
  • 1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Preheat oven to 325 F. Cover cookie sheets in parchment paper, or lightly oil them. Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are golden brown (watch carefully, they can easily burn).
2 Beat the brown sugar and butter together in a medium-sized bowl for several minutes until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add these dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture, mix well. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
(Optional): Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to drop the cookies on the sheets.
3 Drop by teaspoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving space for the cookies to spread. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheets, then transfer to a rack to continue cooling.
Yield: Makes 2-4 dozen, depending on the size of your spoon

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