From blog to cook book

Eloise Head. Photos: supplied
Eloise Head. Photos: supplied
While she has quite a confusing social media moniker, Eloise Head is the baker to turn to if you are into quick, easy and sweet.

Head is known to her online followers at Fitwaffle — a name that came about as it combines her two passions, fitness and food, as waffle also refers to her "waffling on" as she is wont to do.

In this day and age, finding a personal trainer who managed a fitness centre and is now promoting sweet foods is a bit unusual, especially when the trainer has not always had a good relationship with food.

When younger, Head started eating clean and cutting out processed food from her diet, but had no real knowledge about nutrition or how any of the "good" or "bad" food affected her body.

She then did a personal training course and learned about nutrition which changed how she looked at food.

"I learnt that, at the end of the day, 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 began 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 creations to Instagram and TikTok.

In her tiny one-bedroom flat she began to bake and photograph her work as she sought to build a community of fellow bakers and foodies at a time when everyone was feeling isolated.

Now she has written her first cook book, Fitwaffle’s Baking it Easy, featuring many of the three- and four-ingredient recipes she developed during that time including cakes, cookies and traybakes, mug cakes, sweet breakfasts and desserts.

She also includes plenty of tips and swaps, advice on ingredients and answers to the most-asked questions she gets.

THE BOOK

This is an extract from Fitwaffle’s Baking it Easy, Eloise Head,  Ebury Press, hardback, RRP$48.

Cookie Dough Brownies

When you can’t decide between cookies and brownies ... these brownies are thick, fudgy and chocolatey, packed with big chunks of cookie dough and lots of chocolate chips. Both the brownie batter and cookie dough are super quick and easy to make, then you just throw them together. This is one of my most popular recipes and it’s one of my favourite tray bakes.

Ready in 50 minutes + 2 hours chilling

Makes 16

For the brownie batter:

170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

250g (1¼ cups) caster sugar

2 large eggs

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

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

30g (6 Tbsp) cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

80g (6 Tbsp) milk or dark chocolate chips

For the cookie dough:

70g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

90g (scant ½ cup) light brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

80g (scant ⅔ cup) plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

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

Preheat the oven to 190degC (170degC fan)and line a 20cm square baking tin with nonstick baking paper.

GETTY IMAGES
GETTY IMAGES
Method

First, make the brownie batter.

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

Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is super thick, fluffy and pale, and has at least doubled in volume.

Mix in the melted dark chocolate until combined.

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

Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Set aside while you make the cookie dough.

Put the softened butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

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

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

Scoop the brownie batter into your prepared tin and smooth out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Scoop up about half a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll into a small ball with your hands, then repeat with the remaining dough.

Arrange the balls randomly over the top of the brownie batter, leaving gaps in between. Sprinkle over the extra 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.

Leave to cool completely in the tin.

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.

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

Mug Cakes

Ready in 35 min

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

For the filling

15g (1 Tbsp) granulated sugar

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 large apple, peeled, cored and cubed

For the topping

40g (4¾ Tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour

40g (3 Tbsp) granulated sugar

40g (3 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Method

Preheat the oven to 180degC (160degC fan).

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

In another small bowl or mug, mix together the flour, sugar and cold butter until combined. I prefer to do this with my fingertips until it becomes crumbly.

Scoop the apple mixture into 2 separate ramekins, then evenly crumble over the topping.

Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the apples are soft.

Serve warm with cream or ice cream. Yum!

TIP: Add cinnamon and oats to the topping for even more flavour!

Lemonies

These lemonies have all the gorgeous, zesty flavours of a lemon drizzle cake with a fudgy texture. They’re bursting with tangy lemon, with a fresh, sugary glaze on the top, which is definitely a must for me when it comes to anything lemon. They are easy to make and bake, and ideal for a relaxed, sunny day. Enjoy them at an afternoon tea or picnic, or even pop them into lunch boxes. Everyone will love them, so you may want to think about hiding them if you want them to last!

Makes 16

Ready in 45min

For the batter

215g (15 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

180g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar

1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

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

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

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze

250g (2 cups) icing sugar

5–6 Tbsp lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 170degC (150degC fan) and line a 20cm square baking tin with nonstick baking paper .

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

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

Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and smooth it out to the edges, then bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until the top is crisp and light golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the icing (powdered) sugar and lemon juice until runny and smooth.

Remove the lemonie from the oven and immediately pour over the glaze, then leave to cool completely in the tin. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.