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Benne Wafers

1 cup sesame seeds (5 ounces)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup chilled lard or vegetable shortening
2/3 cup cold milk

Preheat the oven to 425.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pie pan in the oven for 4 minutes,
stirring occasionally, until deep golden. Transfer to a plate and
let cool. (I usually do this in a dry cast iron frying pan on the
stove top, stirring constantly).

In a large bowl, sift the flour with the cream of tartar, baking
soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cut in the lard until the mixture
resembles coarse meal. Stir in the sesame seeds and the milk and
mix until blended.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out 1 piece of dough as thinly as
possible (at most 1/8 inch thick). Prick the dough all over with
a fork and stamp out 2-inch rounds. Transfer the rounds to a large
baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 14 minutes, or
until deep golden brown. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a
rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Serve the wafers warm or at room temperature. Makes about 100.


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