Cookies/ Dessert/ Recipes

big soft sesame cookies

Because who doesn’t need a gigantic cookie on a Friday morning?!

The whole thing started when, the other day, I had a hankerin’ for some benne seed wafers.

Benne seed wafers!

A Charleston specialty, benne seed wafers are tiny thin sesame seed cookies. Benne seeds = sesame seeds.

When I was in college, I used to buy them by the bag in the downtown Market and they are pretty much the answer to anything. You have a headache? Eat a benne seed wafer. Your boyfriend broke up with you? Eat three benne seed wafers. You have an exam in two hours and don’t have time for lunch? Eat the whole darn bag. They’re thin and almost caramel-like, and wonderful crushed over ice cream sundaes or spread with a thin smear of peanut butter.

And if you’re sitting there right now staring at the computer screen wondering why I’m going off about tiny little cookies while showing you these huge jumbo cookies, stay tuned. There is a method to my madness.

So, yes. After baking one batch in the traditional tiny size, I discovered that these really weren’t like the benne seed wafers of my youth…at all. The benne seed wafers of my youth are very, very thin and almost brittle-like. These were more cakey and soft.

So… I decided to just go big. I mean, why not?

For these cookies, you need to first need to toast your sesame seeds. A half cup of them, to be exact.

Careful…these boogers burn!

Then, just do a standard creaming procedure…you know the drill! Brown sugar and butter….add the eggs…mix in the flour, baking powder and seeds.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and voila!

Big Soft Sesame Cookies

makes 2 dozen large cookies

1.5 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), soft

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the sesame seeds for about five minutes, shaking occasionally, so that they’re nice and golden. Be careful–they burn quick!

Cream together the soft butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder). Fold in the toasted sesame seeds.

Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out large balls of dough onto lined baking sheets. Bake for fifteen minutes, or until the bottoms are golden.

These would make dynamite ice cream sandwiches!

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  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    October 22, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I have never heard of benne seed wafers, but they do sound tasty. However, I like the thought of these big giant cookies (even if it’s not on a Friday) and especially stuffed with ice cream!

  • lindsay
    October 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

    aww, since i live in charleston, i am happy to mail you some benne wafers! they are my favorite too!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    October 22, 2010 at 8:32 am

    I haven’t heard of those cookies, either, but I personally think that no cookie is a bad cookie. They sound good. And, um, if your boyfriend breaks up with you you deserve two bags, not two cookies. 😉

    • jenna
      October 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

      hah! I think that’s what I meant.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    October 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Ohhh these look awesome. I love soft, chewy cookies, plus sesame seeds, so these sound right up my alley!

  • Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks
    October 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    These look great! I made flat, chewy sesame cookies a few weeks ago that are delicious too =)

  • Julie
    October 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Lol, you sound just like my jewish step mom. Had a bad day? Eat a cookie! Had a good day? I’ll make you a cake! Something exciting happens? Lets celebrate with pie! Having a boring day? We should make fudge.

    Speaking of which, I’m REALLY, really, really, really bad at all things involving a candy thermometer but I would love to make fudge. Any chance you could do a fudge tutorial in the future?

  • The Wife of a Dairyman
    October 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I’ve never tried one of these…..they look good and would be perfect for breakfast, I think:)

  • Lindsey @ Silly Runner
    October 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

    What a small world! My boyfriend’s family owns Olde Colony Bakery who make the Benne Wafers!

    I love your blog and it’s so great to see you mention Benne wafers. I admit I hadn’t really known about them until I started dating him (I grew up in Michigan), but they are great little tasty cookies 🙂

    Let me know if you’d like us to ship you a free bag! Email me with your address!

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    October 22, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Sesame cookies? How different! I have a feeling that Cookie Monster would particularly enjoy these very much!

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    October 22, 2010 at 8:48 am

    These look so intriguing! I’ve never had them either!

  • Meredith
    October 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Benne seed wafers were totally a clue on Jeopardy last night.

  • Apicius' Apprentice
    October 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

    What a cool combination! May have to try this one.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    October 22, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Never heard of these either… but I’ll take two 😉

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy
    October 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

    !!! It’s like you read my mind. Honestly. Freakin’ benne seed wafers. 😀

  • Lauren
    October 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Ooohhh, those look amazing, I love the taste of seasame seeds, but I would have never thought to put them in a cookie. This is another one of your recipes I will have to put in my “to make” list. I made your creamy white chicken chili and it was amazing, so thanks!


  • cathy b. @
    October 22, 2010 at 9:06 am

    sesame seeds? on cookies? how cool! love seeing something unique!
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Indi
    October 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Ah I love benne seed wafers! They make me want to go back to Charleston asap. These sesame seed cookies are a great idea, I’ve loved all the recipe/story posts this week 🙂

  • Jessica
    October 22, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Hello! I wanted to leave you a comment and let you know that I love your blog! I also have started blogging, and my site is called “Life in the Middle: Staying Fit in Nebraska.” It is along the same healthy living/fitness/eating lines as yours and many other blogs that I love! If you would be able to check it out, I would really appreciate it! It is brand new, and I am a brand new blogger, so any comments would be fantastic!

    Thanks! Keep up the great posts!

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Those look so magnificently puffy.

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    October 22, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I’ve never had sesame seeds in a cookie before, but these look so good! I love giant cookies!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    October 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I have never had sesame cookies before – I think it may be time to start!!

  • Kelly
    October 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Looks good to me! I like my cookies to be cakey anyway! The only cookies that I like to be crunchy are gingersnaps!

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    October 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

    love sesame seeds, but i’ve never had ’em in a cookie!

  • Kati
    October 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Benne seed waters are sooo good! I have to try them in ice cream now…maybe with a bit of peanut butter on top!

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    October 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Jenna–First of all I love this recipe. There is a restaurant in my hometown that serves sesame candies at the end of a meal, and I constantly crave nutty, sweet sesame goodness! I wanted to reiterate how much I love the changes in your blog. I loved reading your day-to-day but your recipes and cooking journeys remind me of home and the celebration of real, wholesome food. Every food has a story and I love how you are sharing yours. Happy Friday!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    October 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Never heard of those benne seed wafers, but these giant cookies sound awesome! yum..I think I’d sandwich them with some buttercream icing!

  • katie
    October 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

    mmmh i love seasme seeds in desserts

  • Lindsay
    October 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Jenna – your photos are getting more and more amazing lately!

    • Erin @ Small Things
      October 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      I sooooo agree with this. They are really beautiful!
      ps – I want those in my belly NOW

  • Ashley
    October 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

    sesamme seed cookies….eeeew !! Sorry , I love MOST of your sweets but these look boring.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    October 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

    These are adorable! 😀

    I’m not the biggest of sesame seed fans, but I’ll bet they’re amazing in cookie form. 😉

  • Kristina @ spabettie
    October 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

    oh, I bet these are wonderful… I love sesames!!

    they look beautiful !

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 22, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Even though it’s crappy and cold outside right now, I could definitely do with an ice cream sandwich!! These look great – and sound so much better than brittle cookies. I like the soft ones!

  • Jenny
    October 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

    These sound delicious! I’ve never tried a sesame cookie before but they look great!

  • Ella
    October 22, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I’ve never heard of these! If I ever go to Charleston (which I hope I do, I hear the area is gorgeous) I will have to try them.

    I have the same method of solving things with cookies. In fact, my roommate was rushing around like crazy last night, and I handed her 3 chocolate chip cookies for dinner as she sprinted out the door. And a couple of bites of squash – that would just be irresponsible of me not to balance out the meal with veggies.

  • ModelBehavior
    October 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

    “these boogers burn”
    Maybe my fav quote of the day 😀

  • Moni'sMeals
    October 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

    What I would do to have one now. They look So cakey and would go perfect with some almond milk.

    I love this combo and the uniqueness. Well done as always.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    October 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Love the cookies! Your answer to things in college may have been cookies…mine was more of the alcoholic variety 🙂

    Have a super weekend!

    • eatmovelove
      October 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      Mine was both 🙂

      • Jenna
        October 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

        mine too 🙂

        • alyssa
          October 23, 2010 at 8:26 am


  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    October 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Since is a bit rainy here in Carmel decided to make a delicious Herbes Provence Lamb dish that reminds me of a certain bistro in Provence. (posted recipe on my blog) Think I’ll make these cookies too. Kind of country & simple…I like that. Thx!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    October 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Oh yum, oh yum. The weekend can now officially start!

  • Hope
    October 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I have never heard of these but boy do they look good! My baking never seems to end up as gorgeous as yours!

  • LizLivingVegan
    October 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve never even heard of these cookies! They look good though, I’ve never thought about using sesame seeds in a cookie. Very cool!

  • Nicole
    October 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Never would have thought of this combination, I’ll have to give it a try sometime!

  • Sarah @ BikingNBaking
    October 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Oh my gosh I need these now!!!

  • Joanna
    October 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    My family is Sicilian and we have a sesame seed cookie recipe that’s very similar to this. We just add almond extract and form them into finger-like rolls. They’re yummmyyyyy.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    October 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    yum…these sound amazing! i never would have thought of sesame seed cookies!

  • Catherine
    October 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Hi, Jenna. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy the new format for your blog. The pictures are great and the commentary very upbeat and fun to read. Great change!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss
    October 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I made a cookie a lot like this using quinoa once. They turned out great so no doubt these are fabulous!

  • Erin
    October 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    oooohh deary! These look FANTASTIC…. they WOULD go great with a little ice cream in the middle…. *hmmm, perhaps some pumpkin ice cream*…

  • Trish
    October 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I am about to start drooling on my keyboard. These are just calling me, asking me to bake them and eat them – eat them all!! 🙂

    I think two batches would be needed. One with ice cream and one with some cold milk.

  • tieghan
    October 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    What is the mat you bake? The one that you put on your cookie sheet?

    • jenna
      October 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      that’s a silpat—a nonstick cooking mat! I LOVE’s like parchment paper but you can use it again and again.

      • tieghan
        October 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

        Thanks! I NEED one ASAP!! Just found it on Amazon!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    October 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    yummy! I’ve never ever seen any cookie with sesame seeds…..but these look incredible!

  • Kirsten @ Cooking in Japan
    October 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I was so excited to see the title if this post in my blog reader. And I was even more excited to see it was a recipe. I love, love, love sesame seeds. These cookies look delish. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    October 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    i’ve never heard of these cookies but they sound fabulous! i’ll have to give ’em a shot 🙂

  • 'laina
    October 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I made these last night and LOVE them. Tho, I didn’t have any dark brown sugar, so I used light and 1 tbsn molasses. Yum.

  • Brianne
    October 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    i just made these! i am dying they are so great! thanks jenna