Thursday, March 31, 2011

Benne Wafers

Thomas Jefferson loved the Benne Wafers. He grew Sesame plants in his garden at Monticello. Benne Wafers are composed mostly of sesame seeds and certainly his garden provided the best seeds for the his treasured cookies. I'll be planting seeds in my garden this year that were harvested from the gardens at Monticello. I decided if I'm going to attempt growing Sesame, I needed to learn new ways to cook with them. So, tonight I made the Benne Wafers that were so loved by President Jefferson and are still loved by southerners today.
Benne Wafers

1 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Place the sesame seeds on an ungreased baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, watching closely, until lightly browned. In a large mixing bowl mix the brown sugar, melted butter or margarine, egg, vanilla extract, flour, salt, baking powder and toasted sesame seeds together until blended.

Drop dough by half-teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between cookies. Bake benne wafers in preheated 375° oven for 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cookies cool for about 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove from baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cooled sesame seed cookies in an airtight container.
Makes about 72 Cookies

I will add a few comments to the recipe and say this... I greased the cookie sheet first time around and wow did the cookies/wafers spread. Experiment and see if you need to grease before getting to deep into the baking process. Also, I threw an extra handful of flour into the mix. ( that's a real measuring technique ya know, a handful).

After all of that, the wafers turned out delicious.

I'm wondering about harvesting the Sesame seeds this summer after they have grown. A whole cup of seeds goes into this recipe. How many plants will I need to grow to harvest a cup of these teeny tiny seeds?

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