Friday, May 13, 2011

Benne Seed Cookies with Lime Sherbet Punch

Note:  This was originally posted on Thursday, May 12 and subsequently lost during the Blogger interruption.  Blogger has returned my post but not the comments from Thursday.  I apologize if your comment is one of those that was lost. 

Now that warmer weather has finally started to arrive, it's time to think of cooler beverages and lighter desserts. This pairing, found on Paula Deen's website is just that.  Cool and refreshing without being overly filling. 

When Lynn, at Happier Than a Pig in Mud announced that she was having a celebrity chef cook-along in May with Paula Deen as the selected chef, I was concerned that I'd have to corner the market on butter to make something to share.

Searching through Paula Deen's website, I found this recipe for Benne Seed cookies. I thought they sounded light and delicious and I love sesame seeds.  Then I read it used 3 sticks of butter!  I cut the recipe in half and I'm so happy I did because the original recipe would have made way too many cookies. I still ended up with over 3 dozen cookies - more than enough for me and my husband. And, they freeze well.

The cookies are lacey, crispy and delicious. If you like sesame seeds and like a crispy cookie, these are great.

Paula's lime sherbet punch is similar to those sherbet punches most of us have made in the past. It's refreshing and delicious and what a gorgeous color for spring! Rather than making a full punch bowl full, as the recipe indicates, I just added a small scoop of lime sherbet to a tall glass with a couple ounces of pineapple juice and stirred in ginger ale to the top.  I found the most delicious Green Tea Ginger Ale which I used to make this and also added a squeeze of fresh lime juice for an extra zip of lime flavor.

Benne Seed Cookies
Adapted from Paula Deen's Recipe
Printable Recipe

This recipe is easily halved, which I did. A half recipes makes about 3 dozen cookies. My halved ingredients are in parentheses.

1 1/2 (3/4) cups sesame seeds
1 (1-pound) (1-1/4 cup) box light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 (1) large eggs
2 (1) cups all-purpose flour
1 (1/2) teaspoon baking powder
1/4 (1/8) teaspoon salt
2 (1) teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If you’re using raw sesame seeds, place the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 3 minutes, watching carefully. They should just begin to brown lightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter and eggs until very light, about 5 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir with the spatula until combined. Add the vanilla. Stir in the cooled sesame seeds. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, 1 inch apart. They will spread into perfect circles during baking.

Bake until very brown but not burned at the edges, about 14 to 15 minutes. Important: Let the cookies cool completely on the parchment paper, then peel them away from the paper. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well in tins. They will crumble in a plastic freezer bag.


Lime Sherbet Punch
Adapted from Paula Deen's Website
Printable Recipe

Servings: 6-8 glasses (See individual serving notes below)

2 quarts lime sherbet
2 liters ginger ale (I used Green Tea Ginger Ale)
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
Lemon slices
Lime slices
Maraschino cherries (optional)
A squeeze of fresh lime juice

In a punch bowl, add 2 quarts of lime sherbet. Then add ginger ale and pineapple juice. Decorate with lemon and lime slices and some maraschino cherries.

Or, if just making 1-2 servings, as I did, add a scoop of lime sherbet to a tall glass, add 2 ounces of pineapple juice and stir together. Fill glass with ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with lemon and lime slices and serve with a straw. I omitted the Maraschino cherries.


This is my submission to the Paula Deen Celebrity Cook-Along at Happier Than a Pig in Mud and I'm joining Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.


  1. You have a very yummilicious site. I am loving your cookies here. Glad I came by. Hope you're having a terrific day.

  2. The cookies and punch look so summery and fresh..Great photos as always..
    Perfect pairing I would say~

  3. yes...this is just so summertime !!!!

    love it
    thanks for sharing this....


  4. Looks like a delicious and refreshing combination! LOL that you cornered the market on butter :)

  5. The cookies look lovely. And anything with lime is a real winner!

  6. Love the color of that lime sherbert. It looks so refreshing and delicious. And, of course, who doesn't love a crispy cookie to munch!

  7. Bothe the cookies and the punch look so very good. Such a pretty plate the cookies are on

  8. So the cookies kinda spread out in the middle... much like my stomach does with all that butter:@) They look great Susan! I love that you made half the recipe too, I do that all the time. The punch is a little different since it calls for Ginger Ale instead of lemon lime. Thank Y'All so much for joining the Cook-Along!

  9. Looks like a great Summer time treat. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I love anything with lime. It's great for the coming summer. The coockies look fantastic! Love the picture.

  11. Susan love these cookies!! gloria

  12. Now all I need is to sit in the sunshine and dream of eating benes and punch.

  13. When are you inviting me -- I need some relaxation of the deck with thos scrumptious cookies and a refreshing drink. Joni

  14. The benne wafers are a long time favorite...but I've never seen the lime sherbet punch recipe. What a lovely cool drink, Susan!

  15. These cookies look great Susan! Love that you made a half batch, I do that often too. The punch is a little different as it calls for Ginger Ale instead of lemon/lime and that's a great glass! Thanks so much for joining the Cook-Along:@)

  16. The cookies look delicious and that lime punch looks perfect along side them!

  17. What a beautiful summertime treat! It just wouldn't be a Paula Deen recipe without lots of butter and the sesame seeds really dress up those crispy wafers. Now all we need here is some summertime weather.

  18. Your glass of Sherbet Punch is beautiful. It looks perfect for sipping on the patio or dock. :-) I'll have to look for the Green Tea Ginger Ale.

  19. I am with you! Paula is def not heart healthy! I love how your sesame cookies came out, I never heard them called benne seeds before!
    That lime drink looks fabulous, what a great summer treat!
    I just did my Paula Deen recipes and I am off to the cardio doc for sure! I tried to find one w/o butter that we would eat, but the other alternative was fried!

  20. Oh that naughty Paula! Is that part of why we love her so much! I love how she celebrates it rather than apologizes for it, she is great.

    The cookies look so "buttery" and delicious. I love the addition of the sesame seeds. The punch brings me back. I haven't had that in forever and it was always such a treat when I was young at a shower or a wedding. We definitely need to make it again.

  21. What a great summertime treat! I laughed like crazy about the butter! So true!!! I especially like the lime sherbet punch!

  22. Both look delicious..going to try those cookies this weekend since I have everything on hand! The punch really looks refreshing!

  23. My grandmother would have liked Paula Deen ;o) She always loved her butter too.
    The cookies look so crispy and buttery. I like the color of the punch.

    P.S. Love the black and silver serving tray!

  24. Your Benne Seed Cookies look so light & good! I've bought them when we visit Charleston but never made them. Your punch looks so refreshing and beautiful in your glass and I love the idea of Green Tea Ginger Ale!

  25. Both the punch and the cookies look like the perfect treats! I want that sherbet for when I get back from my race this morning! So refreshing.

  26. I love sesame seeds and crunchy so I'd LOVE these. They are so pretty and I love your pretty drink.
    Have a great day.
    xo bj

  27. I just love how you made them so thin. And the sorbet looks delicious too Susan!

  28. What a delicious reminder of our life in Charleston! Benne seed wafers are a staple there. Imagine my disappointment to return from vacation and find blogger down just when I wanted to catch up. It'll take a few days but I plan to leave no posts missed!

    Thanks for your kind wishes for my nieces. They are proudly displaying their "battle scars"!


  29. Look delicious Susan, I lost my post too,. I made all again! gloria

  30. Oh, YUM! What a treat! Paula knows how to do it, doesn't she?!? Great pics, too, by the way!

  31. wow! your photos are so lovely! thank you for sharing this with us. have a great day.

  32. wow love this especially the lime punch looks super refreshing sorry about lost comments

  33. What an awesome snack this would be! The cookies look so good. Wish I had one right now!

  34. The cookies look delicious, never tried sesame cookies but have tried sesame halva. Why is it called benne seed cookies?

  35. Thank you, everyone! Three-Coookies, to answer your question, benne means sesame in Bantu. These cookies were a staple in the Charleston and low-country area and the recipe was brought over from East Africa. (Thank you, Google).

  36. The lime drink sounds like a winner. Will have to try it when the weather gets warm. Nancy H

  37. I tired to comment last week but it didn't work. Those cookies are refect for that large bag of sesame seeds I purchased and I love crispy cookies.

  38. I have never had a benne seed cookie. All I know is that it looks good. Would you link this to my brand new linky, Bake with Bizzy.


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