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Try tasty, sugar-free banana waffles

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These wonderfully light and sweet waffles are not only low in fat, they are also sugar-free. Their natural sweetness comes from the mashed ripe bananas. They are a great breakfast or brunch entree for parties because they can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving.

In the summertime they are both beautiful and delicious topped with fresh fruits, such as berries, peaches and apricots. In fact, just last weekend I made them for a Sunday brunch and topped each waffle with a large mound of sliced fresh strawberries and a dollop of thawed frozen fat-free whipped topping. For an even prettier presentation in the winter, I garnish each serving with a slice of grilled banana and a sprig of mint.This recipe is from my new book "Canyon Ranch Cooking Bringing the Spa Home" (HarperCollins, $40). In the book I suggest topping the waffles with a maple walnut syrup that I am including in this column because the orange juice-based topping is good on other waffles, pancakes and even ice cream! I add the walnuts at the last minute, rather than adding them to the syrup mixture so that they remain crunchy.

Rice lends itself to a wonderful variety of light presentations, and my booklet, "Cook It Light With Rice," contains some of my favorite low-fat, low-calorie recipes for it. Order one for $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No.10 envelope from Rice, P.O. Box 5541, Riverton, NJ 08077-5541.



2 tablespoons cherry or berry jam

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon frozen orange-juice concentrate, undiluted


2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 teaspoons corn oil

1/4 cup egg whites

3/4 cup low-fat (2 percent) milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons chopped, toasted walnuts

Combine all ingredients for the syrup, mix well and set aside.

Preheat a waffle iron.

Combine the bananas, corn oil, egg whites, milk and vanilla in a bowl and beat until blended. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.

Spray the hot waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon 3/4 cup of the batter onto the center of the waffle iron. Cook until a golden brown or until it stops steaming.

To serve top each half-waffle with 1 tablespoon of syrup and 1 teaspoon of toasted walnuts.

Makes 4 servings

- Each serving contains approximately: 271 calories; 5 gm fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 279 mg sodium; 52 gm carbohydrates; 8 gm protein.