Dear Peggy: My two boys love muffins, but I'm concerned about fat. How do I replace the fat in muffins with applesauce? If I use applesauce as a substitute, could I cut back on sugar? Can I use the same techniques to lighten cakes made with cake mix? —B.C., Bryan, Texas
Substituting a fruit puree, such as unsweetened applesauce, will typically yield nice results. That's why we often use fruit puree substitutions in Healthy Cooking. Many of our recipes also use a small amount of butter or oil because fat adds moistness and flavor and imparts tenderness.
Choose a puree that complements your recipe. Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute in lightly colored baked goods, while prune puree works well in chocolate recipes.
Start with half the fat and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce. Since fruit purees add sweetness, you can often decrease the sugar by 25 percent overall.
This substitution also applies to the oil in cake mixes. Use 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for one of the eggs. While you can replace all of the eggs with egg whites or egg substitute, you'll get the best taste and texture if at least 1 whole egg is in the mix.