CHOCOLATE BLACKBERRY BREAD



Some foods are just indisputably meant to be together, like peanut butter and jelly, like biscuits and gravy, like sweet corn and basil. But chocolate and blackberry? I never knew it before, but they're one of those classic combinations. Chocolate and blackberry are married, y'all.

There something magical about the combination of the deeply flavored, sweet berries playing against the tart, floral notes in intensely dark chocolate. I've made a thousand chocolate cakes before this one, and yet somehow there I was, combining these flavors for the first time. Swirling fresh blackberries into chocolate cake batter allows the two to combine and become something more than either flavor once baked, for lack of a better descriptive word. Just more. More like the ripe taste of late summer on your tongue. More chocolatey, somehow. More grownup, maybe, although it's one of those 'sophisticated' tastes that I suspect everyone will actually love. Tossing some whole berries into the batter as well allows for surprising little pockets of fruit that pop up in each bite, silky and jamlike and addictive. The whole thing is a wonder, really. I was lucky enough to make it just before blackberry season ended for the summer, and while I'm sure fresh is best, I have a suspicion that you could make this with frozen berries all winter long and bliss out on chocolate blackberry perfection just fine.

There's been a lot of extra love floating around in my world the last few months, a record-setting number of engagements and milestones and generally wonderful things. So why not chocolate and blackberries, after all? In a few hours from now, I'll be jumping on a plane to the opposite coast to watch two dear friends marry each other, and I couldn't be more excited--or more convinced that this cake is the perfect metaphor for all things matrimonial. Two main ingredients that compliment one another, each sharpening the flavor of the other as they join to become something greater in the pan than they were in the bowl? Sounds about right to me. Here's to love! Here's to perfect matches! And here's to chocolate's perfect match, the blackberry. Now, let's have some cake*.

[ *Yes, I know, I keep referring to this as a cake when it's clearly titled Chocolate Blackberry Bread in the recipe. But come on. We all know this is a 'bread' in the same way that zucchini bread is a bread....which is to say that it isn't at all. Mazel tov, have a slice of cake already! ]



Chocolate Blackberry Bread

Makes one 9" x 4" loaf

small amount of butter or coconut oil for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
6 oz fresh blackberries
4 ounces dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350, and lightly butter or apply oil to the sides of a 9" x 4" loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, yogurt and milk. Take half of the blackberries and puree in a food processor (you can also just smush them up a bit with a fork, if you prefer a more rustic texture or if you don't happen to have a food processor), add pureed blackberries to liquid mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour liquid into it, mixing as you go until it combines into a thick batter.

Separate the chocolate into two piles and chop half of it into small pieces (about the size of chocolate chips). Fold remaining whole blackberries and chopped chocolate into batter, then pour into pan and place in oven. Bake for at least 65 minutes, testing with a knife or skewer after an hour (you may need a little longer depending on your oven; mine needed about 75 minutes). Bread is done when a knife can be inserted and removed cleanly. Take out of oven and let cool.

Melt remaining chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over room temperature Chocolate Blackberry Bread, then serve.