Sunday, May 10, 2009

Benne no Hana

The Thursday before my neurologist appointment I decided to make some cookies. I like to make cookies on Thursday so Dinah can take them to work on Friday. I don't know why because they don't always eat them. Thumbing through my recipes I decided to make Benne Wafers. The recipe I used is here but don't bother with it, it isn't the best written recipe.

While it says that benne seeds are sesame seeds the first thing I had to do was to figure out what parched benne seeds were. I had a gut feeling it meant toasted. Searching the Internet didn't yield much as people just kept repeating this or a similar recipe and never defined parched. Finally I found a web site for a sesame seed importer I think where it more or less described parched sesame seeds as toasted. But then I got confused on whether or not the sesame seeds are supposed to by hulled or unhulled. I decided just to buy whatever the grocery sold and to toast them. Screw it if I'm wrong.

I read that you have to be careful when toasting sesame seeds as they will burn quickly and that they can toast in as little as four minutes. Maybe it is because I was scared about this possibility and kept opening the door to check every one minute but after 15 minutes my seeds had not toasted to my satisfaction. So I put the pan on the lowest rack and turned my broiler on to low. This got things toasting quickly. My seeds didn't burn but I think they may have gone a little past the golden brown I was shooting for. But since it was nearly impossible to get a single layer of seeds I had a wide range of toasted levels and thought the toasted flavor would average out.

I never seem to have any light brown sugar on hand. I put it on today's grocery list. But in all the times I have used dark brown sugar instead I have never had a flavor problem. I think it just made my cookies a little darker. As you may know I am a strong advocate of weighing ingredients, especially when baking. I don't bother packing one cup of brown sugar. It's 200 grams.

I don't know why the original recipe says to flatten the wafers with a wet knife. I tried that on three and it just makes a mess. These cookies spread out on their own into thin crisp wafers so just let the oven do it's trick.

I used my Silpat for these and had no burnt or stuck cookies. I can't say the same of the batch I made with a non-stick cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. If you don't have a Silpat, consider getting one. It is a nice little kitchen gadget to have.

The cookies were a nice change of pace from the standard sugar cookie base one normally has. They were crisp and nutty. I thought my brain was deceiving me when I thought I tasted a hint of toasted popcorn until my wife had one and said the same thing. It reminded me of the popcorn in Cracker Jacks. If you would like to give these a try, here is my write up of the recipe.


Brook said...

Cracker Jack cookies huh? Those would be a big hit at our house-maybe with a spanish peanut plopped in the middle-only how-wait-candy the spanish peanuts or a peanut from peanut brittle pressed in right when they come out of the oven....tasty!
I need a silpat. Maybe two.
Glad you're back!
(Did Dinah's co-workers like them?)

Huff Daddy said...

Yes, they did like them, but they only ate half.

I found my Silpat on close out somewhere. And I used to see them on clearance a lot, and for the life of me can't figure out where! If I see them again on sale, I snag one for you.