Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Move Over Pumpkin Pie (and say “Hello” to Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake with Walnut Shortbread Cookies)

My contribution for Thanksgiving was the most important item next to the turkey…the dessert. This year’s selection was the Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake with Walnut Shortbread Cookies from Mario Batali’s Babbo cookbook (credit as well to Gina DePalma, Babbo’s pastry chef, for the recipe). Normally, it’s just Mr. Dine O Mite and myself sitting down to dessert, so I found this recipe, which serves 8, to be best suited for a larger dinner party.

Overall, this dessert was a success. I think my only mistake was that I should have reduced the maple syrup (from Goodell Farms in Mantua, Ohio) down just a little further, before adding the cream. I found some adorable fall themed cookie cutters at Crate and Barrel for cutting out the walnut shortbread cookies. The mascarpone cheese was imported from Italy and on sale at Whole Foods. My special touch was the addition of some glazed walnuts.

This dessert was so rich and creamy that it didn’t even need require my usual dose of whipped cream…

Maple Mascarpone Cheesecake (see link for recipe)

Walnut Shortbread Cookies
From the Babbo Cookbook by Mario Batali

4 cups toasted walnut pieces
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

1. Toast walnut pieces on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes at 325 degrees, until
golden brown and fragrant. Cool completely, then place in food processor until
just finely ground.
2. Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees.
3. Place the butter, brown sugar, and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric
mixer and blend together until smooth and creamy.
4. Beat in vanilla extract
5. In a separate bowl, mix the nuts, sifted flour, and salt.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until a soft dough is
7. Wrap dough tightly in saran wrap and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into ½ inch thickness. Cut out shapes
as desired and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
9. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until they turn light golden brown. Place on a wire
rack to cool, then store in an airtight container.

* I added powdered sugar to the final product.


  1. Man that looks so decadent! Nice photo.

  2. I made the walnut shortbread cookies and was disappointed in them. First, they are not like real shortbread, flakey and buttery. Second, I did not think they dough should be 1/2 inch thick and used a thinner dough, but they took forever to bake, much longer than the 15-17 minutes. Maybe they will be good with the cheescake(which we have just made), but I would not make them again and I love everything else from Mario Batali and his Babbo cookbook.