breakfast with blowtorches

oatmeal brulee

it's amazing how a little butane or propane can transform an ordinary breakfast item. oatmeal brûlée: oatmeal made with steel-cut oats cooked in water, sprinkled with brown sugar, which was then blowtorched for a crunchy brûléed finish, and served with fresh berries and cream. crack open the crust with a tap of the spoon, pour in the cream, and scoop it up with a bit of the burnt sugar and berries.


this can be made with any oatmeal or hot cereal recipe of your choice, and of course, any toppings of your choice. just be sure to cook the cereal a little drier than you normally would so the sugar caramelizes properly. if you'd like a higher burnt sugar-to-cereal ratio, use a shallow soup dish; if made in individual ramekins, these would be a nice addition to any brunch.

added benefit: breaking out that blowtorch wakes you up better than any cuppa will....


Sheer brilliance. Everyone should start their day with a rush of danger-induced adrenaline and a potentially-lethal cooking implement in hand! Do you think it would work on yogurt??

i love the smell of blowtorch in the morning :-) i don't see why yogurt shouldn't work--i put it to you melissa, to find out :-D

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm............ Yummilicious..!!

Hi Santos - you're back!!! I love this - I had something similar a couple years back at a restaurant in NYC. It had hazelnuts and raisins under the brûléed surface, if I remember right. I'm crazy about this kind of oatmeal even with just a little brown sugar stirred in, but the crunchy sugar crust on top really turns it into a treat.

Yay, you're back!

santos dear, now i really have to buy that blowtorch i've been trying to resist all this time, just to try this yummy oatmeal with the crunchy sweet crusty caramel top...hmmm. it might make the kids want to eat more oatmeal too! yehey.

An old flame

so decadent!

Hi Santos,

Great job! I think the blowtorch alone would be enough to wake me up.
I'm glad you're back! =)

hi mrst! very yummilicious, and not that difficult to do.

hi cathy! out of curiosity, how much did they charge you for it in nyc? i'm guessing i spent something like 35 to 40 cents for this, i'm sure it would be cheaper if i bought in restaurant bulk. i've been reading about how much it actually costs to run a restaurant and i'm shocked with the markup of some of the items. i *love* the idea of hazelnuts mixed in, i'll have to do that next time!

hi rachel! i am, for now. i had to take a break from real life and blog to keep my sanity....

stel! you should definitely get one. i can only imagine your children giving you extra 'cool' points if you pulled out the blowtorch for their breakfast. and i'm sure they'd be on their best behaviour when you're waving it around :-)

anthony--old flame, new roughage

maria! decadent, yes :-) unfortunately, also quite addictive....

hi reid! i missed you there. i'm just hiding from the craziness in cyberspace...now how crazy is that?!

How positively decadent of you! I love my blow torch and am happy to have breakfast as a new opportunity to use it :)

I highly recommend that if one wants a kitchen blowtorch- they forget the overpriced dinky little kitchen model that gourmet stores often sell. Just grab a touch button ignition one from your hardware store. Also, unscrew the top from the gas tank inbetween use to preserve your tank life.

incredible. i like the touch of berries.

hi jocelyn! i love my blowtorch too :-) you're right--the hardware store varieties are cheaper, just as easy to use, and omg, just so much more awe-inspiring in the kitchen. i've used a variety of them, and frankly, the bigger the better (i am such a size queen). however, i do have a mini butane torch that i picked up at my local auto parts store for just under $15, which i use not only in the kitchen, but for jewelry work as well.

hi saffron! the berries were very tasty. i actually had this again this morning with just the raspberries, and hazelnuts, as per cathy's description. really lovely.

This looks and sound awesome Santos! And thanks for the link w. picture of the steel cut oats - I've never tried a dish that used them, simply becuase I had no idea what they were! I'll have to do this for my next brunch-y thing...

hi zarah! i like both the steel cut and regular oats; the steel cut offer a nice bit of texture, though, that works well with the crunchy sugar topping.

Hi Santos - as to the price... my memory is fuzzy, but I believe it would have been in the area of 8 to 9 dollars. Most places charge 6 or 7 dollars for just the oatmeal (and most serve the steel cut oats these days), and toppings are another couple of dollars. I've only seen the brûléed top in one place and they only do that on their brunch day(s?).

hey cathy--you ever get the feeling we're in the wrong business? if a nyc restaurant can charge $6-$10 for a bowl of oatmeal that costs less than 30 cents per bowl....free business idea to anyone: open a cart during winter months that only sells oatmeal and hot chocolate--offer brulees, different toppings, and flavours for both. if you pick the right area, i'll bet you'd make a pretty penny.

Mm... I'm doing this for breakfast soon. I already do oatmeal just about every day. Looks tasty.

Now that has got to be the most innovative and most tempting take on oatmeal porridge I have ever seen. I knew a kitchen blowtorch was going to be a good investment! Berries + oatmeal make for a great combo, but I think caramelized bananas on top would be just as good. (Think turon-style oatmeal! ^_-)

midge, you are rocking my lobster! a little palm sugar, bananas, maybe some langka thrown in...genius girl, you are :-)

hi nic! sorry i missed you. please take photos when you do, i'd love to see your take on it.

And just when you thought it was safe to leave your house, the meme strikes again... YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED! Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Simply write a post about your formative food experiences and title it something like 'The Cook Next Door'. Have fun! p.s. here's a permalink to my post: http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2005/6/20/meme-the-cook-next-door.html

hi santos,
Long time no see.
It looks very tasty. Ah ~~ I want to have it.

melissa gaaaaaaaaaaaaah uh, okay.

hi chocopie! i would give this to you if i could.

Oh, mama.

This is just about what I needed to put me over the oatmeal edge (don't eat the stuff. Can't get past the texture).

Will report back.

hello fatemeh--the texture of the steel cut oats makes for a less slimy oatmeal, so you might be able to get past it. hope it works well for you!

That looks deeeeelish, Santos!

Yum yum.. this looks tasty. Thanks! :)

hi sweetnicks and yEşiL--you should try this! simple and really delish :-)

Heavens! That is clever. I think I'm just nerdy enough to do that! I want to have overnight guests so I can serve fun breakfast! *$@! I only have one bedroom.

hi becky! (laughing) c'mon, don't you want to wake your husband with a blowtorch one morning? ;)