Last Saturday TEDxPerth had our strategic thinking and planning workshop day. With two successful big events under our belt, as well as some smaller unplugged events and live broadcasts of TED and TED Global, it was time for the team to get together and figure out what our purpose was and how we see ourselves progressing into the future. I think that for any organization you can talk a lot about what you want to do, but to articulate it into something that is real, meaningful and actionable is not always easy but necessary (complete with flowcharts, graphs and venn diagrams!). The key reason why we volunteer our time to TEDxPerth is to provide a platform for Perth's most creative and innovative individuals such as scientists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs and artists to share their ideas on stage in 18 minutes or less - to challenge views and attitudes, to find ways to improve our lives and show that you can achieve a lot of great things in Perth! I’m on #TeamPerthIsAwesome
I’m also on #TeamEatTheGoodStuff
A workshop is not complete without morning tea so when I found out that it would have probably just been purchased from the supermarket or Miss Mauds, I was like hold that thought! I’m bringing morning tea. I am the food curator for TEDxPerth after all, and if we need sugary treats to power us through the day, I was going to make sure that it would be the good stuff.
I don’t know about you… but I will judge how good a café is by their sweets display, where I am immediately attracted if I can see that the baked treats have been done in house and everything looks wholesome. Sometimes you see a display full of magnificent looking cakes at a café and they appear to tick the box, but you can also tell that they have been delivered from some commercial cake making factory and eating such cakes can be filled with regret because you know that you can get and deserve better. I’ve made a pact with myself that if I’m going to be stuffing my face with sugar and butter, I want to make it worth it and homemade baked treats are always the best!
Even if this meant that I was baking four different things in 38 degree Perth heat the day before and I decided that it would be a great idea to be working with pastry and meringue to make these Turkish lemon meringue cookies.
It’s basically buttery dough, spread with meringue, rolled up and baked. I knew that it was going to be a bit tricky to pull together as pastry and meringe are delicate things to work with, made worse by the heat where the pastry was getting too soft too quickly making it difficult to roll but in the end I did manage to roll it all together. However, I had to chuck it in the freezer until it hardened enough for me to slice into rounds to bake. I used a recipe from Lemon Pi and the only thing that I had to do differently was freezing the dough after rolling up first before slicing.
Lemon meringue cookies basically taste like a shortbread cookie with meringue inside, and everyone liked how light it was and enjoyed the crumbly cookie interwined with soft and crispy lemon scented meringue.
Baked Chocolate Puddle Cookie
But the biggest hit were these chocolate puddle cookies which have a meringue like exterior that you break away to reveal fudgey insides. It encompasses all the characteristics that I like to have in my cookies – crisp on the outside but soft and chewy inside. Something that delights and mystifies, where everyone commented on the contrasting textures – like how can it be hard outside and soft inside? The answer is science and therefore something that I can’t really explain but follow this recipe from 101Cookbooks and let the chemistry work itself out!
Another thing I baked was these tahini and almond cookies which are really easy to make. It’s one of those recipes where you can just put all the ingredients into a food processor and process the mixture until it forms a dough, roll into small balls, flatten and bake. I used a recipe from David Lebovitz.
I like these tahini and almond cookies as they present a different flavour than your usual cookies, but I found that these were the least favoured so tahini (sesame paste) was not to everyone’s liking. Next time I think it will be best to stick to the classic flavours like chocolate :)
The last thing I baked was a café classic – a raspberry, white chocolate and coconut slice. These combination of flavours work like magic together and it’s something that I see offered quite a lot of cafes. Over the years I have tried to work out my own recipe for it, bringing together all the elements I like – a light crisp layer on the top with the texture of a brownie inside where its cake-like but soft and slightly chewy.
Raspberry, white chocolate and coconut slice
(An original recipe by the Blue Apocalypse)
• 250g white chocolate
• 150g butter
• 4 eggs
• 1 ½ cup caster sugar
• 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1 cup desiccated coconut
• 2/3 cup plain flour, sifted
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 lemon, zest only
• ~150g of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 170C and line a 8x8inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Add the white chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stir until combined and smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Beat the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the white chocolate/butter into the eggs.
Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl – almond meal, coconut, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
Pour the batter into the baking in and scatter raspberries over the top.
Bake for ~45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing.
Dust with icing sugar.