Whenever we have a family gathering, this pumpkin bread is one of the first things to disappear.
Its super-moist and packed with flavor and it can be made into a simple pumpkin loaf; or enhanced with chocolate chips and/or nuts. Or raisins. Or cinnamon chips. Or…you can get creative yourself!
1 cup vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
coarse white sugar for sprinkling on top, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans (if you’re making the plain version of the bread); two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans (if you’re adding chocolate chips and nuts); or one of each, if you’re making one plain loaf, and one loaf with chips and nuts.
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.