Benne Seed Wafers

It is said that slaves brought Benne seeds from Africa to the coastal low country of Georgia and South Carolina.  These thin, crisp cookies with a buttery taste are a specialty of Savannah and Charleston.  I was introduced to them by my hall-mates in college and in the early years of my marriage made them quite often, but for some reason they did not become part of my repertory.  When my son was studying in Charleston I became re-acquainted with them and after many trial and errors to get it “just right” developed this recipe. 


  1. ½ cup sesame seeds
  2. ¾ cup butter, softened
  3. 1 ½  cup brown sugar
  4. 2 egg
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 ¼  cup all-purpose flour
  7. ¼ teaspoon baking powder 

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper (Alternately lightly grease the cookie sheet)

  1. Put sesame seeds in a heavy skillet and over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, and toast to a golden brown.  Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs; beat well. Add the vanilla extract
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and benne seeds.
  5. Blend dry ingredients into creamed mixture.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Drop by scant teaspoons 2 inches apart (cookies will spread).
  7. Place on a rack mid way in the oven and  bake for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Cool completely.  They will be crisp.

Yield:  7 dozen 2”wafers

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