SPELT EARL GREY BANANA BREAD

Banana bread is one of my favourite things. I'm always looking for new takes on it. You can really add anything to it- fruit, dried fruit, nuts, spices, chocolate! That's what's so great about it, no?

I took this recipe from my Hollyhock cookbook. For those of you not familiar, Hollyhock is a magical, and I mean magical, educational retreat located on Cortes Island, BC. It's placed amongst the oceanfront with gardens galore and a restaurant that is to die for. The food is so clean and fresh from their daily baked breads to their hearty soups and salads. Their use of local ingredients is commendable using vegetables and herbs from their gardens and fresh seafood from right outside their door. It was one of the most memorable eating experiences I've ever had. Individuals who are staying at Hollyhock whether it be for yoga, educational programs or a multitude of services the institute offers get to eat the food everyday! Lucky, right? 
I highly recommend this cookbook, it's full of amazing veg and seafood recipes that I use on that daily and are extremely accessible.

For this recipe I decided to use my bundt pan for the very first time. You can totally just do a full loaf if you rather sliced banana bread, or you can do muffins and reduce the baking time. Up to you! I also added dark chocolate, a must to my banana breads. But again, optional.

Earl Grey Banana Bread with Hemp Hearts
Makes 1 loaf, 12 muffins or 1 small loaf and 1/2 dozen muffins

2 cups whole grain spelt flour (you can use regular flour, whole wheat or a combination of the two if you don't have spelt)
1/2 cup cane sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup hemp hearts (optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil in liquid state (or butter) 
1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (as ripe as you can gettem' guys, the riper the sweeter the bread and the less sugar you have to use!)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your pan(s).

In a large bowl combine your dry ingredients. 
Heat coconut oil or butter with tea until melted. Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes. In another bowl combine your eggs, yogurt, vanilla and banana. Stir in cooled oil/butter with tea leaves.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and be sure not to over mix! Add your chocolate and fold until JUST combined.
Pour your batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
If using muffin or bundt pans bake for about 25-30 minutes. Until the tops are slightly browned and firm and toothpick comes out clean. I baked both my small loaf and bundt's for 28 minutes.

*To make vegan simply substitute eggs for two flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal and 6 tbsp water) and your yogurt for plain coconut or soy yogurt*