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Salted Benne Wafers

African slaves introduced sesame seeds into this country as "bennes."


  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup lard or shortening
  • 1/4 pound butter, chilled, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt


  1. Toast sesame seeds until golden brown in a skillet or slow oven, 4 to 8 minutes.
  2. Mix flour with the seasonings. Work in lard and butter with your fingertips as if making pie crust.
  3. Beat egg with 2 tablespoons ice water. Mix flour and liquid lightly with a fork. Add sesame seeds and more water, if needed, to make dough barely stick together. Put dough into a plastic bag and shape it into a long roll about 1 inch wide. The easiest shape is a squared roll.
  4. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Cut roll into 1/4-inch slices and place them on a baking sheet. They will not spread, so you can place them close together.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F on top rack of oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle them with sea salt while still warm.

Yield: about 30 wafers

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