1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) cranberries
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup brandy
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
8 store-bought Italian shortbread cookies, such as Rigoli
Bring cranberries, sugar, brandy, and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Cover, and keep warm.
Just before serving, spread mascarpone onto cookies. Top each with compote (reheat compote over low heat if needed).