Project Credit: Bernzomatic Torchbearer Fresh Off the Grid
Take your morning bowl of oats to the next level with some caramelized brown sugar and bananas. Oatmeal has a reputation for being a pretty boring camping breakfast, especially in comparison with the visual variety you get with hash or the warming nostalgia of pancakes. But oatmeal with a blowtorch? Now there’s something to get excited about!
Bananas and brown sugar are pretty standard toppings for oatmeal, and if you give them a quick once over with a torch you can caramelize all that sugar into a sweet and delicious crust. Not only does this bring out the flavor of the sugar, but it adds a crunchy texture to the oatmeal. It’s a really quick and easy way to elevate a basic meal into something extraordinary.
Why it Works for Camping
‣ Oatmeal is a very easy and very economical breakfast to make while camping. It’s a humble meal. But by using this one trick, you can create a something that feels way classier and almost decadent.
‣ If you’re using a green propane cylinder for your camp stove, then you already have half of what you need for a blow torch. Bringing a torch along doesn’t take up that much space and they have plenty of other useful applications at campsite (e.x. lighting a campfire in no time at all).
‣ There’s an undeniable wow factor when cooking with a blowtorch. This doesn’t really have anything to do with camping specifically. It’s just a fact.
Mastering the Technique
‣ To get an even crust, you’ll want to make sure the brown sugar is distributed evenly. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to take a small amount in your hand and sprinkle it from about 12 inches over the bowl. As it falls through the air, it will randomly disperse. Keep sprinkling until you get a nice even coating of sugar (now is not the time for restraint).
‣ You want to light your torch (and adjust the flame) before pointing it at your food. Propane does not taste good. You will want to avoid unintentionally blowing any unlit fuel onto your food, otherwise it will be left with an unappetizing aftertaste.
‣ Keep it moving. The flame from a torch is incredibly hot and will blacken the sugar if you’re not careful. Keep it moving back and forth to get an even caramelization.
COOK THE OATMEAL: Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the oats and salt and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
PREPARE THE TOPPING: Divide the cooked oats between two bowls. Top with the sliced bananas. Sprinkle the brown sugar over both bowls in an even layer to coat the bananas and oats.
BRULEE: Fire up your torch (see equipment notes) and sweep it across the surface of the oatmeal, moving it back and forth at a steady pace until all of the sugar has caramelized.