1 cup regular olive oil – not extra virgin
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or fresh pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
coarse white sugar or raw sugar for sprinkling on top, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans, plus some extra for mini muffins. Or if you use the 9×5 pans, no extra.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and water.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla, stirring to combine.
Mix in the chips and nuts, if you’re using them. To make one loaf with chips/nuts, one loaf without, divide the batter in half. Leave one half plain, and add 3/4 cup chips and 1/2 cup nuts to the other half.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired.
Bake the bread for 60 to 80 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean; and that same tester inserted about 1/2″ into the top of the loaf doesn’t encounter any totally unbaked batter.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. When it’s completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.
Yield: 2 loaves.