Charleston Benne Wafers Recipe

By Suzanne Havala

These diminutive cookies are a Southern tradition. They get their name from the benne seeds, or sesame seeds, that they contain. They’re about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter and are light and sweet.

[Credit: ©David Bishop]

Credit: ©David Bishop

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes per batch

Yield: 8 dozen cookies

1⁄3 cup sesame seeds

2 egg whites

3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla

1⁄4 cup butter

1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Spread the benne seeds in a shallow pan and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until just browned. Do not overcook. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, butter, and flour and mix well. Fold in the toasted benne seeds.

  4. Drop the cookie dough by the half teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheets. These cookies are meant to be very small, so use a measuring spoon if necessary to get the right amount of dough. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch carefully or the edges will get too dark.

Per cookie: Calories 16 (From Fat 9); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 7mg; Carbohydrate 2g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 0g.