Benne Cookies

These cookies, which were in the New York Times Food section, are from the cookbook “Gullah Geeche Home Cooking: Recipes From the Matriach of Edisto Island” by Emily Meggett. These cookies were a big hit at The Villager’s meeting, as well as my Book Club meeting.

I made a second batch this week, because I forgot to take photos of the actual cookie! These cookies were called “sweet and savory” by my Book Club. They are buttery, crispy, crunchy and quite delicate, with a unique taste. They taste slightly peanut-buttery, but this taste is actually from the toasted sesame seeds. I used half white and half black sesame seeds in the recipe, as I found the black seeds added a little more crunch, but I’m sure all white would be just as delicious.

These cookies are quite easy to make, especially if you use a stand mixer. Just make sure the butter and egg are at room temperature before you start baking. Tip: Save butter wrappers in your freezer to make greasing your cookie sheets a breeze! Make these for your meetings/parties/families and watch them disappear! Makes about 40 cookies.

Benne Cookies

Recipe by Emily MeggettCourse: DessertCuisine: CookieDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 cup benne seeds or sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets with butter.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the sesame seeds (also called benne), stirring them until coated. Toast the seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant and darkened a shade, 2 to 3 minutes. Take care not to burn the seeds and turn down the heat if needed. Scrape onto a plate and cool completely.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and both sugars until well combined and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add the cooled toasted sesame seeds and the vanilla then stir in the flour mixture.
  • Drop rounded tablespoonsful of the cookie dough at least 2 1/2 inches apart on 1 prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, and until golden brown around the edges. Remove the wafers from the cookie sheet immediately and place on waxed or parchment paper to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough on the second cookie sheet, reusing the first sheet when it’s cool, if needed.

Recipe Video


  • Make sure you remove the cookies from the sheet quickly, as they will stick.
  • It took a lot longer to brown the sesame seeds than 2 to 3 minutes.

Up next: Bittersweet

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: