Road trips are one of the great American pleasures. They can define a period of change in your life or simply be a break from the grind. And the accidental discoveries we make on road trips are the things we remember. So if you happen to road trip through a tiny town in Oklahoma called Arcadia, you will most definitely remember the root beer bread pudding you must have at Pop's Soda Ranch. Ditch the vanilla pudding and cheesecake, because this is the dessert you'll want to have.
You can't miss Pop's Soda Ranch located along the famous Route 66. A 66-foot-tall soda bottle statue beckons you to carbonation heaven. And when I say carbonation heaven, I'm not exaggerating. Over 700 types of soda in cool retro glass bottles are displayed and sold here. They are arranged by color category including Mellow Yellows, Blue Heaven, Amazing Grapes, Red Ahead, and many more.
The Beyond The Pale category lists the oddball flavors like Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda and Martian Abduction. The names alone make me want to throw a cooler in my Ford Escape and drive from New Jersey to Oklahoma right now, but it's not just an insane amount of sodas and good old-fashioned diner food that makes Pop's a popular landmark. They are famous for their root beer bread pudding.
Pop's waitresses will serve you a hot slice of mildly sweet bread pudding with juicy raisins, drenched in their homemade root beer and white chocolate sauce. If you're lucky enough to get to Pop's Soda Ranch after dark, you will never forget this dessert or the fact that you are eating it under the 66 foot tall soda bottle glowing with LED lights
Blogger, The Hungry Hoosier, shared this copycat version of the dessert recipe on the NPR affiliate WBAA out of Purdue University.
Root Beer Bread Pudding
You'll need two liters of your favorite root beer. For the pudding, you'll need a half cup sugar, five eggs, one cup milk or heavy cream, and four cups of day-old French bread cut into cubes.
For the crunchy topping, you'll need one cup light brown sugar, half a stick of room temperature unsalted butter, and one cup of chopped pecans.
The sauce is an easy recipe calling for one cup sugar, half a stick of butter, and one egg. The restaurant serves it with a white chocolate sauce but you could also add a little vanilla extract to this for extra sweetness.
Empty your two liters of root beer into a large pot and start reducing to over medium high heat. Reduce it down to one cup to make a root beer extract. It'll take about an hour total time so to save on prep time, you could do this the day before and store in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 inch pan with nonstick spray. Mix together 3/4 cup of the root beer extract, sugar, eggs, and milk in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cubed bread and let it absorb evenly for about ten minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, and pecans for the topping.
Pour bread mixture into the greased pan and sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the top. Bake for 35 minutes until set.
To make the sauce, add the sugar, butter, egg, and the rest of the root beer extract to a small saucepan and whisk quickly over medium heat and pour over the root beer bread pudding. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream if you want and enjoy this crazy delicious take on a root beer float.
Eat it hot or cold while mapping out your next road trip.