Bert’s benne wafers

First things first: Why Bert’s? Sharon Tyler Herbst calls Bert Greene her dear friend, and attributes this recipe (save the “soupçon” of fresh orange zest — that’s all hers) to him.

Second, why benne? Turns out benne (pronounced benny) is a word of West African origin (from the Mandé, Bambara, Wolof and Malinké family of languages) that means sesame seed. That’s right. Like yams, collard greens, and peanuts, sesame seeds came to the United States from sub-Saharan Africa with slaves. Apparently, they’ve been baking benne wafers in the South ever since.

And who could blame them? Rich with butter, ultra-thin and nutty, these cookies are sweet crunchy wafers. There’s a bit of southern pecan pie goodness in every bite with a surprising twist of toasted sesame seed flavor thrown into the mix that’s almost peanut-like. I like them. Bruce thinks they’re a bit weird. Kate? She is as yet an undecided voter. They are supposed to bring good luck, so I baked them for Election Day. We will see how well that turns out in the morning.

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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