Jeanne Jones
King Features

DEAR JEANNE,

I am hoping you can help me with this recipe. It is so good and has healthful ingredients; however, it has too much oil and sugar. Can you alter this? Thank you.

— Pat, Sandy, Utah

BRAN MUFFINS

4 cups bran flakes, divided use; 2 cups All-Bran cereal; 1 cup dates, chopped; 2 cups boiling water; 3 cups all-purpose flour; 2 cups whole-wheat flour; 1 tsp. salt; 5 tsp. baking soda; 1 cup vegetable oil; 2 cups granulated sugar; 4 eggs, beaten; 1 quart buttermilk; and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour muffin tins. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the bran flakes, the All-Bran cereal and the dates. Pour the boiling water over the top and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, salt and baking soda. In a third bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and beaten eggs. Fold into this last mixture the hot bran mixture, then the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk. Fold in the remaining 2 cups of bran flakes and the nuts until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, and bake for 15 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of the muffin cups), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. The unused batter may be stored in the refrigerator.

Makes 60 muffins.

Dear Pat,

Bran muffins usually are a little better than other muffins nutritionally, though not always. These started out pretty good, and the great thing about all that fiber is that it adds the texture you need when you reduce the fat, so you really don’t need all the oil. Since this recipe makes 60 muffins, 2 cups of sugar really isn’t bad; that’s just a little more than 1½ teaspoons per muffin — not bad for a sweet treat. I used raisin bran for this recipe so the leftover cereal would be eaten.

LOW-FAT BRAN MUFFINS

2 cups oatmeal

2 cups All-Bran cereal

3 cups boiling water

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

5 tsp. baking soda

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

? cup canola oil

1 cup liquid egg substitute, or egg whites (5 to 6)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 quart (4 cups) low-fat buttermilk

4 cups bran flakes (or raisin bran)

½ cup dates, chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts), toasted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or prepare with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oatmeal, All-Bran and boiling water. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking soda, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, canola oil, egg substitute (or egg whites) and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute. Add the oatmeal mixture and mix well.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture alternately with the buttermilk, and combine until moistened. Fold in the bran flakes (or raisin bran), dates and nuts. Pour into the prepared pans, filling each cup about ¾ full. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top of a muffin springs back when touched lightly with a finger.

Makes 60 muffins.

Each muffin contains about:

Original recipe — 145 calories, 6 grams fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 203 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein and 3 grams fiber.

Revised recipe — 101 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 milligram cholesterol, 191 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein and 3 grams fiber.

Jeanne Jones’ column is distributed by King Features Syndicate. Send your recipe for revision to Cook It Light, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope. You also can submit requests at www.jeannejones.com.