Method of producing C.sub.8-C.sub.15 hydrocarbons comprising providing a ketone starting material; providing an aldol starting material comprising hydroxymethylfurfural; mixing the ketone starting material and the aldol starting material in a reaction in the presence of a proline-containing catalyst selected from the group consisting of Zn(Pro).sub.2, Yb(Pro).sub.2, and combinations thereof, or a catalyst having one of the structures (I), (H) or (III), and in the presence of a solvent, wherein the solvent comprises water and is substantially free of organic solvents, where (I), (II) and (III) respectively are: ##STR00001## where R.sub.1 is a C.sub.1-C.sub.6 alkyl moiety, X.dbd.(OH) and n=2. ##STR00002## In (III), X may be CH.sub.2, sulfur or selenium, M may be Zn, Mg, or a lanthanide, and R.sub.1 and R.sub.2 each independently may be a methyl, ethyl, phenyl moiety.
STATEMENT OF FEDERAL RIGHTS
 The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 between the United States Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory.