"Stone Mattress" by Margaret Atwood & Frozen Mocha Brownie Bites
In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood’s short stories are tied together by common themes of death, revenge, and legacy.
In many of the stories, we are presented with brilliantly complex characters looking back on their lives and reflecting upon the most significant points, points of betrayal or triumph that shaped their ensuing years. Because of this, many of the characters are older, and Atwood does an incredible job showing the many complexities of their characters as well as the disdain or negligence they face from most of society. Other stories feature characters in various stages in life, but still involving many of the same themes.
There is no monotony in Atwood’s work — stories span different times, some have elements of fantasy neatly woven in, others are horror stories with loveable monsters. Every story contains Atwood’s biting wit, her dark sense of humor, and her ability to describe reality head-on, never shying away from the ugly side of things. While some short stories leave you completely satisfied, the tales in Stone Mattress end in ambiguity, allowing the reader to take what she will from the story and imagine the ending in any number of ways.
Stone Mattress is a compelling read by one of my personal favorites, Atwood delivers stories that pull you in immediately and leave you wanting more.
To complement this book, I chose to make frozen mocha brownie bites. I wanted something small, and the frozen element reminded me of the cutting way Atwood incorporates gritty reality into her work.
No matter how sweet or fantastic, no story is without a bit of the coldness. Regardless, the cool coffee flavor mixed with the soft brownie base all dipped in a chocolate coating create a deliciously complex taste in every bite.
Like the stories, these will leave everyone wanting more, so I suggest baking in large batches!
FROZEN MOCHA BROWNIE BITES
- Oil to grease the pan
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I added a pinch of coffee as well)
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup coffee ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease muffin pan.
In a small bowl, gently melt the butter in the microwave. I used 10 second intervals.
Stir in cocoa powder and sugar and stir well.
Add in egg yolks and continue stirring. The batter will be thick and need a lot of mixing.
Stir in vanilla extract, salt and flour.
Scoop batter into each muffin cup, pressing down to flatten the dough into a disc. The dough should fill about 3/4 of the muffin cup.
Bake brownies for 11 minutes. Take brownies out even if they look a bit underdone; they can overbake easily.
Once the brownies are done, let them cool completely
Let the ice cream soften slightly before adding a small scoop of ice cream on top of each brownie. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the ice cream.
Cover the muffin pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer; overnight works best.
While the brownies are in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring in milk slowly.
Remove the brownies from the tin. They will be solid, so pop the brownies out with care. Quickly dip the each brownie in the chocolate, coating the brownie completely.
Place coated brownies on a plate and set them back in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Take out brownies, serve immediately, and enjoy!
Adapted from Desserts for Two