From blog to cookbook

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Although she has a pretty confusing nickname on social media, Eloise Head is the baker to turn to if you like it quick, easy, and smooth.

Head is known to her followers online at Fitwaffle – a name which was born from the combination of her two passions, fitness and food, as the waffle also refers to her ‘procrastination’ as she used to. .

These days, finding a personal trainer who ran a fitness center and now promotes sugary foods is a bit unusual, especially when the trainer hasn’t always had a good relationship with food.

When she was younger, Head started eating healthy and eliminating processed foods from her diet, but had no real knowledge of nutrition or how “good” or “bad” foods affected her body. .

She then took a personal training course and learned about nutrition which changed the way she viewed food.

“I learned that ultimately food is energy. Some foods are high in calories and low in nutrients, while others are low in calories and high in nutrients.

“It’s the balance of these foods that matters, alongside your personal energy output.”

Fitwaffle started out as an Instagram page and online blog documenting her fitness and food journey.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and she was locked down with the rest of the nation, she started posting her homemade designs on Instagram and TikTok.

In her small one-bedroom apartment, she began cooking and photographing her work as she sought to create a community of fellow bakers and foodies at a time when everyone felt isolated.

Now she has written her first cookbook, The easy cooking of Fitwafflefeaturing many of the three- and four-ingredient recipes she developed during this time, including cakes, cookies and platters, cupcakes, sweet breakfasts, and desserts.

She also includes lots of tips and talks, ingredient advice, and answers to the most asked questions she receives.

THE BOOK

This is an excerpt from Baking it Easy by Fitwaffle, Eloise Head, Ebury Press, hardcover, RRP $48.

Cookie Dough Brownies

When you can’t decide between cookies and brownies…these brownies are thick, fudgy and chocolatey, filled with chunky cookie dough chunks and lots of chocolate chips. Both brownie batter and cookie dough are super quick and easy to make, then all you have to do is mix them together. It’s one of my most popular recipes and it’s one of my favorite baked goods.

Ready in 50 minutes + 2 hours chilling

Gives 16

For the brownie batter:

170 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

250 g (1¼ cup) caster sugar

2 large eggs

125 g dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa/cocoa), melted and cooled

100 g (¾ cup) plain flour (all purpose)

30g (6 tbsp) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of salt

80 g (6 tbsp.) milk or dark chocolate chips

For the cookie dough:

70g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

90 g (barely ½ cup) light brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

80 g (barely ⅔ cup) plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

70 g (⅓ cup) milk or dark chocolate chips plus extra for garnish

Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan 170°C) and line a 20cm square baking tin with non-stick parchment paper.

Method

First, prepare the brownie batter.

Place the melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric hand mixer until completely combined.

Add the eggs and continue beating until the mixture is very thick, frothy and pale, and has at least doubled in volume.

Stir in melted dark chocolate until blended.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then stir in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Set aside while you prepare the cookie dough.

Place softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until only a few streaks of flour remain, then stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pour the brownie batter into your prepared pan and smooth it evenly with the back of a spoon.

Take about half a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a small ball with your hands, then repeat with the rest of the dough.

Arrange the balls randomly on top of the brownie batter, leaving spaces in between. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 minutes until the edges are cracked and the cookie dough is golden brown and no longer wobbles in the middle.

Let cool completely in pan.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight, if possible, for a firmer texture and a cleaner cut. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Point: If you don’t want to make the brownie and cookie dough from scratch, feel free to use canned mixes from the supermarket.

Cakes in a cup

Ready in 35 minutes

There’s nothing like a warm apple crumble on a cold winter’s day, and when you don’t want to make a big fuss, this recipe is just what you need. Unlike the other recipes in this [mug cake] chapter, it’s baked in the oven, but it’s as comforting as any cupcake, plus it’s quick and easy to make. And you only need five ingredients, so here we go!

For filling

15g (1 tbsp) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large apple, peeled, cored and cubed

For garnish

40 g (4 ¾ tbsp) plain flour (all purpose)

40g (3 tbsp) granulated sugar

40 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C).

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or mug until combined, then add the chopped apple and stir until coated in the mixture.

In another small bowl or mug, stir together flour, sugar and cold butter until well blended. I prefer to do it with my fingertips until it becomes crumbly.

Pour the apple mixture into 2 separate ramekins, then crumble evenly over the filling.

Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender.

Serve hot with cream or ice cream. Yum!

POINT: Add cinnamon and oats to the filling for even more flavor!

Lemons

These lemons have all the gorgeous, zesty flavors of lemon cake with a melty texture. They’re bursting with tart lemon, with a cool, sweet glaze on top, which is definitely a must for me when it comes to lemon. They are easy to prepare and bake, and ideal for a relaxed, sunny day. Enjoy them at an afternoon tea or picnic, or even put them in lunch boxes. Everyone will love them, so you might want to consider hiding them if you want them to last!

Gives 16

Ready in 45min

For the dough

215g (15 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

180 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar

1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

60 ml (¼ cup) fresh lemon juice (about 1½ lemon)

300g (2 cups + 5 tbsp) plain flour (all purpose)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the icing

250g (2 cups) icing sugar

5 to 6 tablespoons of lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan 150°C) and line a 20cm square baking tin with non-stick baking paper.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add egg, egg yolk and lemon juice and beat until just combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt, then fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in lemon zest (batter should resemble thick cookie dough).

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth all the way to the edges, then bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is crispy and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. In a small bowl, mix the icing (powdered) sugar and lemon juice until liquid and smooth.

Take the lemongrass out of the oven and immediately pour over the glaze, then let cool completely in the pan. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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