Benne Wafers

Benne Wafers is a Charleston tradition in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Steeped in ancestry and tradition, these crunchy wafers combine the nutty flavor of sesame seeds and caramel flavor of brown sugar. A favorite of locals and tourists alike!

Pinnable image of a stack of Benne Wafers
Benne wafers,  pronounced “Benny” rhyming with “penny,” are a local favorite in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  I love the combination of flavors: the nutty taste of the toasted sesame seeds, the hint of salt, and the caramel-y flavor from the brown sugar which make these cookies a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
Sesame seed cookies, or benne wafers as we call them, are a classic South Carolina tradition. It’s said that benne (sesame) seeds were brought to Colonial America sometime in the 17th century.
You can find benne wafers in candy shops and stands throughout the Lowcountry. It is said that eating these delicious thin, crisp cookies brings good luck but for me, they are a little pricey at about $7 for an 8 oz bag.
A stack of benne wafers ties with string
I bought the sesame seeds in bulk for about $3.79 for 1 lb of seeds, at my local Indian market. Amazon is a great resource for sesame seeds as well. The rest of the ingredients are most likely already in stock in your well-stocked pantry. Enjoy!

Benne Wafers are a local favorite in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. They combine the nutty flavor of sesame seeds and caramel flavor of brown sugar.

Benne Wafers

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
Benne Wafers are a local favorite in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. They combine the nutty flavor of sesame seeds and caramel flavor of brown sugar.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine southern
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 67 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sesame seeds , toasted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar , firmly packed
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 °F. Cover cookie sheets in parchment paper, Silpat (silicon) baking sheets. Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are golden brown.
  • Beat the brown sugar and butter together in a medium-sized bowl for several minutes until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add these dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture, mix well. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  • Drop by teaspoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving space for the cookies to spread. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheets. The cookies are much easier to transfer after a few minutes of cooling than straight from the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 29mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 50IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 0.8mg
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