All celebrity chefs have their trademark catch phrases and endearing traits. Ina Garten optimistically poses, “How easy is that?” Emeril enthusiastically shouts, “Bam!” or gluttonously moans, “Oh yeah, babe.” Gordon Ramsay swears more than an angry drunken sailor, while Nigella Lawson waxes poetic with her eloquent and witty culinary comparisons. Although I occasionally watch Giada de Laurentiis’ show, I have to admit that some of her vernacular drives me absolutely nuts. Her way of overly accentuating Italian words during her show is pretty humorous, but don’t even get me started on her relentless use of “Aaaaaand” or “Just like that.”
While my kitchen-phobic brother watches Giada’s show to marvel at her cleavage, I tune in to learn how she innovatively combines unlikely flavors. I also appreciate her propensity to add mascarpone (or mas-car-pone-nay, as Italians say) to pretty much everything. Giada served as inspiration for my fig and maple mascarpone Linzer cookies. As I continue to watch more and more Giada episodes, I can feel myself adopting not only her penchant for mascarpone, but also her way of speaking. Have a cup of tea with these scrumptious cookies aaaaaand they will disappear, just like that!
Fig and Maple Mascarpone Linzer Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons blanched ground almonds
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons mascarpone, room temperature
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg until creamy. On low speed, add flour, almonds, and salt, and continue to mix until dough starts to form. Using your hands, shape the dough into a disk and then wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter. For half of the cookies, use a smaller cutter to cut out the center. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
For the glaze: Whisk together room temperature mascarpone, maple syrup, and powdered sugar until smooth. Add a bit of water to thin out mixture, if necessary.
To assemble the cookies: Drizzle glaze over cookies with cutouts. Spread fig jam in a thin layer on the flat side of whole cookies. Sandwich flat sides of the whole cookies with the cutout cookies, allowing the jam to show through the center.