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Carolyn's Galley: Baked Praline French Toast

Breakfast, after all, is the most important meal of the day. So why not sweeten things up with a perennial favorite: Praline French Toast.

“Carolyn, you’ll never believe who’s anchoring next to us!”

A year and a half before, we’d camped the length of the Baja peninsula of Mexico. In La Paz, we’d met Maggie, a singlehanded cruiser aboard Kismet. She told us of the beauty of the Sea of Cortez and invited us to go out to the islands with her.

While the timing hadn’t worked for us to go out on her boat, we did follow her suggestion that we do a land-and-charter trip to Turkey. She was right, it was fantastic; and there, in one of the most stunning harbors I’ve ever been in, Dave and I made the decision to buy a boat and cruise full time.

In just a few months, we found our boat on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Nine months after that, we crossed the Sea of Cortez to the very islands that we’d talked about visiting with Maggie.

We’d gotten in just as the sun set the night before, the only boat in the anchorage. The next morning, Dave watched as another boat came into the anchorage. As it anchored, the name became visible: Kismet.

Why wait for happy hour to get together? We invited Maggie over for a very special reunion breakfast.

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1 loaf bread (a loaf of unsliced white such as French or

Italian works best, but almost anything will work)

8 eggs

2 cups half-and-half, cream or evaporated milk

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Dash salt

Praline Topping

1 cup softened butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar or white sugar with a tablespoon of honey

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Slice the loaf of bread into 1-inch thick slices. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread slices in the pan to cover the entire bottom—you will probably have two or three layers, depending on how thick your slices are. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended, but not frothy. Pour the mixture into the pan, over the bread slices. Make sure all the slices are soaked.

Preheat oven to 350°F and let egg mixture soak into bread as it preheats. Also, while oven is preheating, mix ingredients for praline topping in a small bowl. Spread topping over the bread mixture just before baking.

Bake uncovered at 350°F for about 40 minutes until golden on top. Serve warm plain or with maple syrup.


Carolyn Shearlock is the author (with Jan Irons) of The Boat Galley Cookbook with over 800 boat-friendly recipes, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Her website,, has hundreds of galley and provisioning tips, insights, and equipment recommendations gleaned from six years of full-time living aboard and cruising.