DEAR JEANNE: Can this be made lighter? When I make it, people love it, but I feel guilty serving it as it is. — Nadine Vincent, Brownsville, Ky.

COUNTRY APPLE DUMPLINGS

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

2 cans refrigerated crescent-roll dough

1 cup butter

11/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 can Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-by-13-inch dish. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Sprinkle apples lightly with salt. Separate the crescent-roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in a crescent-roll triangle. Pinch to seal, and place in the baking dish. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour butter mixture over the apple dumplings. Then pour Mountain Dew over the dumplings. Sprinkle the top of each dumpling lightly with more cinnamon. Bake for 34 to 45 minutes. Makes 16.

DEAR NADINE: I think people are going to love this lighter one, too, and you can feel good about serving it! The new sauce is just as delicious, but does not harden. I prefer Golden Delicious apples for this. I used more apples; so the bundles were a little more difficult to wrap and not as uniform, but there still is a lot of dough along with the apples.

REDUCED-FAT COUNTRY APPLE DUMPLINGS

4 large apples (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious)

2 cans reduced-fat crescent rolls

2 cups apple cider or juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Peel the apples or leave skin on, and cut each one into 16 slices. Separate the dough into triangles and lay 4 pieces of apple on each piece of dough. Wrap the dough around the apples and pinch edges together to cover the apples. (It won’t be perfect, but it will puff as it bakes.) Place dumplings in the prepared pan.

3. Place the apple cider or juice in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Add butter, melt and pour over the dumplings.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 16.

Each dumpling contains:

Original recipe: 300 calories; 18 g fat; 31 mg cholesterol; 338 mg sodium; 34 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber. Revised recipe: 156 calories; 5 g fat; 2 mg cholesterol; 228 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.

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