DEAR JEANNE: My kids love these, but I doubt it can be made low-fat without harming the flavor. Can you try? Any change would be welcome. Thank you! — Monica R., Provo, Utah


1/2 cup cocoa

2 cups boiling water

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla


1/2 package cream cheese

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons milk


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1/2 cup cocoa

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water and stir until smooth. Cool. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in flour mixture alternately with cooled chocolate mixture, beating after each addition until batter is smooth. Beat the filling ingredients together.

Place the cupcake batter in cupcake tins, and add a spoonful of the peanut butter filling. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Cool and frost with chocolate frosting.

For chocolate frosting: Melt butter in a large saucepan; stir in cocoa, milk and vanilla until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and salt until smooth.

Makes 36 cupcakes.


DEAR MONICA: Chocolate and peanut butter are a favorite combination. These were very good, and I was able to reduce the fat and keep it as the delicious treat that it is.


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups boiling water

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk


1/3 cup light cream cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar


1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup light cream cheese

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons skim milk

3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Place cupcake papers in muffin tins, or spray each cup with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. In a medium-size bowl, mix cocoa and boiling water until smooth; cool.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together; set aside.

4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together. Add the egg and egg whites, and beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Add the vanilla and buttermilk, and mix well.

5. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cooled chocolate mixture and beating after each addition.

6. Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar.

7. Fill the muffin tins halfway full with batter; top with a teaspoonful of peanut butter filling. Cover with another teaspoon of batter and bake for 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes, remove from pans, then cool completely on wire rack. Frost with chocolate frosting.

8. For chocolate frosting: With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese; add the cocoa, vanilla and skim milk. Beat in the powdered sugar. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 36 cupcakes.

Original recipe: 287 calories; 13 gm fat; 42 mg cholesterol; 269 mg sodium; 4 gm carbohydrates; 4 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.

Revised recipe: 178 calories; 5 gm fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium; 31 gm carbohydrates; 3 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, Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope.

– King Features


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