Dear Jeanne: I make these muffins in the spring, when I can get rhubarb. Can you adjust it so that it tastes good and is more healthful?

Thank you. — Helen M., San Jose, Calif.

Dear Helen: I certainly can make this more healthful, and my tasters couldn't tell that it was a reduced-fat muffin. I really like the texture and sweetness that you get with a little oat flour. You can make it by grinding plain oatmeal in a blender (it doesn't have to be perfect).

I also made a few more muffins, because they are very large when only 12 are made, but you could eat two and still have less fat and calories than the original.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MUFFINS

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

Sugar-cinnamon mix

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine strawberries, rhubarb and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cream, eggs and vanilla until well-blended. Add strawberry mixture to flour, baking powder and salt mixture. Add butter and stir just until mixed. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mix. Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

REDUCED-FAT STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MUFFINS

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup oat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 18 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper cups. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir again.

3. Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Beat in the buttermilk, vanilla and oil. Add the strawberry mixture and mix well.

5. Pour the flour mixture in and stir just until moistened. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full. Combine the cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle the tops of the muffins. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, testing by lightly pressing on the top of the muffin; if it springs back, it's done. Makes 18 muffins.

Each muffin contains approximately: Original Recipe: 392 calories; 12 gm fat; 65 mg cholesterol; 348 mg sodium; 68 gm carbohydrates; 4 gm protein; 1 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 114 calories; 3 gm fat; 16 mg cholesterol; 194 mg sodium; 30 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (58 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.