Posts Tagged ‘benne seed’


This weekend in Massachusetts, we got hit with our first real snowstorm of the season. It started Friday afternoon and lasted all the way until tonight – when it switched over to a nasty snow/sleet/rain mix.

This meant that we couldn’t get out much this weekend. Stas and I did manage to get to the gym on Saturday afternoon, and we met my siblings and parents for dinner that night. But today’s wintry mix was a little too nasty to be on the road.

So I was bored!!! Seriously, seriously bored! Stas and I tried to walk to the grocery store, but we were getting too wet and I didn’t want to ruin my fur hat, so we turned back. I channel surfed for awhile, but there was nothing on.

… so I headed to the kitchen and flipped through my Joy of Cooking cookbook. These cookies immediately caught my eye.

I had seen a version of these cookies on the Gourmet site – apparently, they were a favorite in the 1950’s. I made the Joy of Cooking version instead because I’ve always had good results with that cookbook, and Gourmet kinda comes across as snobbish. I do like how their cookies look, though. I’d like to try their recipe soon to compare the results.


“Benne” is the African word for  “sesame.” It’s still used in the South – particularly South Carolina.


These cookies were easy to make – and tasty! They almost taste like they have peanut butter in them. And they’re  not too sweet, which means that Stas really likes them.

Sesame Seed (Benne Seed) Wafers

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sesame seeds, toasted*
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for dipping:
1/2 cup white sesame seeds, toasted*, or 1 cup chopped pecans

*to toast the sesame seeds, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl (I used my stand mixer for this step), cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

5. Pull off pieces of the dough (or use a small cookie scoop) and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Dip the tops of the balls into the additional 1/2 cup sesame seeds (or 1 cup chopped pecans). Place the balls, seed side up, about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a coffee mug, flatten the balls into 1 1/2 inch rounds.

6. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Let stand briefly and then move the cookies to a rack to cool.

Makes about forty-two 2-1/4 inch cookies



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