Author Pat Conroy presented the most intriguing cookie recipe in one of his novels. Here’s how he slipped the recipe onto page 57 in South of Broad, a story set in Charleston of friendship, values, beauty and ugliness:
“I opened the copy of Charleston Receipts that my father had bought on the day I was delivered at St. Francis Hospital, and I turned it to the benne seed wafer thins. . . My father and I had cooked almost every recipe and placed stars each time we prepared one of the recipes, and the benne wafers had earned a whole constellation. I began toasting the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet. I creamed two cups of brown sugar with a stick of unsalted butter. I added a cup of plain flour sifted with baking powder and a pinch of salt, and a freshly beaten egg that my father had purchased from a farm near Summerville.”
Without the actual recipe, I guessed the amount of baking powder, oven temperature, etc. They actually turned out pretty good even with too much baking powder . (I added slivers of shaved orange peel.) A nice taste touch. Baked at 350 at 12 minutes.
However, research today shows these more correct proportions: l 1/2 cups brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter, 1 egg, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla.
(l cup lightly browned sesame seeds.)
In the Midwest or Northwest this is a little known cookie. They have great keeping power. But, my resident taste tester says, “They’d be even better with chocolate chips.”
For the next edition of my little cook book, I’ll give them a five-star rating.