When I was a teenager, I was slightly obsessed with the tiny rectangular sesame snaps you could buy from health food shops. I haven’t seen them around for years but I was quite excited when I discovered these sesame seed wafers from South Carolina, which seem to be a slightly less sugary, homemade version of those sesame snaps. These benne wafers remind me a bit of Florentines, with the lightly roasted sesame seeds suspended in a caramelised biscuit base.
They are incredibly addictive and, due their wafer thinness and small size, you can eat inordinate amounts of them – so be warned! As you can see below, the ingredient list is very simple but you tend to rip through the sesame seeds, so I may have to start buying my sesame seeds in bulk.
I made a double batch of these last weekend, intending to take them to a friend’s place for our monthly book club meet up. When book club was postponed, I was left with a lot of benne wafers to get through. Because I’d already overdosed on them when I baked them, I couldn’t eat any more for nearly a week until I discovered this stash on Friday afternoon and ate four of them in rapid succession. It’s hard to stop at just two of these wafers, but you can always tell yourself they are thin and delicate and so packed with sesame seeds, they must be good for you. So go on, bake a batch and try and stop at eating just two of them. I double dare you.
The ever-so famous Lees Brothers do a savoury version of benne wafers, which you can find here.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- 1 cup of sesame seeds
- 1 cup of packed brown sugar
- 60 grams (½ stick) softened butter
- ½ cup of flour
- 1 egg
- ⅛ teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- Toast sesame seeds until lightly golden in a cast iron skillet and place in a bowl to cool.
- Preheat oven to (325°F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Whisk together flour and baking powder.
- Beat sugar and butter together until butter is creamed through the sugar completely.
- Beat egg into sugar and butter. Then stir through flour, sesame seeds, lemon juice and vanilla extract, until well combined.
- Place mix in the refrigerator for half an hour to chill.
- Drop teaspoonfuls of wafer mix on baking sheets and leave plenty of room for the wafers to spread.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and caramelised around the edges.
- Let cool for a few minutes on trays before placing on rack to cool completely.