A slimmed-down version of buttery yeast rolls earns our Test Kitchens' highest rating.
By Elizabeth Taliaferro

The Reader: Desiree Schneider, 25, Starbucks manager, Pittsburgh

The Recipe: Orange Rolls

The Story: Ever since they began dating, Desiree had listened to her husband, Paul, reminisce about the gooey orange rolls of his childhood. So as a part of his 25th birthday celebration, she secretly obtained a copy of the recipe from her mother-in-law and surprised him by baking a batch of his favorite treat. Desiree describes them as "buttery yeast rolls drenched in a cooked sour cream glaze" and now understands why these delicious rolls were etched in Paul's memory.

The Dilemma: Desiree felt there was a good chance that Paul would overindulge in the rolls anytime she made them. We took her concerns to heart once we looked at the recipe and saw the ample amounts of sour cream and butter it called for.

The Solution: Our first alteration was simple, but it significantly lightened the rolls: Switching from regular to reduced-fat sour cream saved about 120 calories and 19 grams of fat in the recipe. Another 72 calories and almost 5 grams of fat were trimmed by using one egg instead of two. The biggest change occurred when we slashed the butter content to 1/4 cup, but we kept enough in the dough to maintain the original's tender, almost pillowlike texture. We kept most of the butter originally in the glaze because it imparts rich flavor at first bite. Still, the rolls contain only half the butter of the original recipe, which knocks out a whopping 792 calories and 91 grams of fat. All the modifications make for a rich-tasting baked delight with only 178 calories per serving and about half the fat of the original.

The Feedback: The Cooking Light staff enthusiastically awarded the new and improved orange rolls with our Test Kitchens' highest rating. Desiree found the new dough easier to work with, plus the lightened rolls "have the same decadent flavor with none of that heavy feeling after eating them. If I had not told Paul, I am certain he wouldn't have known any difference. Now when he's tempted to reach for a second roll, I won't feel nearly as bad knowing they've been lightened," she says.

Before | After
(Serving size: 1 roll)

Calories per serving
218 | 178

Fat
10.2g | 5.6g

Percent of total calories
41% | 28%

To the Rescue. Do you have a favorite recipe that needs a healthy makeover? Maybe we can lighten it up. Send it to us, along with your reasons for wanting a healthier version and any interesting stories or traditions about the recipe. Include your name, address, and daytime phone number with the recipe, and send it to CL_Web@timeinc.com with "Lighten Up" in the subject line. We can't lighten every recipe we receive, but if we adapt yours, we'll send you a Cooking Light cookbook. We reserve the right to edit all recipes. All recipes submitted become the property of Cooking Light and may be republished and used for any purpose.