I’m so excited to share this with you! If you love creme brûlée you’re going to go crazy for this fun spin on breakfast. Just like with the dessert, you’ll have a crackly outer layer of ‘burnt’ sugar, but instead of custard underneath, you get creamy oatmeal mixing with the little melting shards of caramel in your mouth and, oh my, your eyes will roll back in your head. But don’t faint —it might seem like a crazy indulgence but it’s no less healthy than regular oatmeal. That’s because I didn’t add any sugar to the pot, so what gets sprinkled on top and caramelized is the only sugar I used. Cinnamon and vanilla flavor the oats and the entire recipe takes no more time than your basic breakfast. Do up a whole tray of them for guests. I don’t like to self-congratulate, but I am taking a little bow here…
Recipes don’t get much more fun than this one, and if you already have a kitchen torch collecting dust in the back of your cabinet, this is a great way to get some use out of it. The nice thing, too, is that there’s nothing tricky involved here. If you know how to turn on your torch (which took me an embarrassingly long time to master, btw) you’ll be bruleeing like a pro.
Just make your favorite oatmeal, and spoon it into individual bowls. Smooth out the top so it;s an even layer, and then sprinkle it lightly with sugar.
Then get busy with the torch, touching every corner to get that fantastic crackly sugar crust. I like to wait until I see specks of black, that way I know it’s done. It hardens to a crisp crust in a matter of seconds as the sugar cools. I’m telling you this is a wonderful way to eat oatmeal!
- 2 cups milk (any type, including almond, coconut or soy, I used full fat dairy milk)
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp granulated sugar (regular granulated white sugar caramelizes best)
- cream or half and half for garnish, optional
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until little bubbles form around the edges and add the oats. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the oatmeal is thickened.
- Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla and spoon into two serving bowls.
- Smooth out the top of each bowl with the back of a spoon for form a flat surface for the sugar.
- Evenly sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over each bowl
- Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, moving the flame in circles as the sugar turns color. Keep heating until the entire surface is browned and you start to see small black spots.
- Serve hot with a dash of cream.
You can try doing this under the broiler if you don't have a torch. It works, but it's tricky, and you have to have the bowls up close to the flame. The torch works better!
A kitchen torch is a wonderful
toy tool to have around, and they’re not very expensive. They can caramelize sugar, burnish meringue and marshmallow toppings, blacken peppers, and add appetizing color to foods that come out of the oven disappointingly pale, like gratins,or even chicken.