This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.
I have a massive sweet tooth and love all different kinds of desserts—yeasty doughnuts, delicate macarons, warm chocolate chip cookies—but there’s something about dessert with a theatrical flair that thrills me, and it usually involves fire. I’m talking about the kinds of desserts that are torched tableside at fancy restaurants, like crème brûlée, baked Alaska, and anything s’mores-related. Beyond the thrill of lighting something at the dinner table, I love the way that fire transforms flavors; caramelizing sugar or toasting marshmallows and meringue.
I’ve had my Bernzomatic ST2200 torch since the summer of 2019, but didn’t end up actually using it until the pandemic rolled around. The idea of having a hot flame in the palm of my hand intimidated me, but once I started delving into a variety of baking projects in 2020, I realized that having this powderful little tool opened up a lot of delicious possibilities. I started with crème brûlée.
When my husband and I have guests over, they have fun torching their own desserts.
Bernzomatic ST2200 torch
Continuous flame lock
Comfortable to hold
Easy to use
Butane not included
Making crème brûlée, I’ve realized, is ridiculously easy, and with the Bernzomatic torch, I can get that layer of crunchy caramelized sugar over top with ease. Many recipes note that you can use your broiler instead to get a similar effect, but you often run the risk of turning the cream into soup—especially if you’re going the dairy-free route. I like the precision the torch offers, especially with something as delicate as crème brûlée, and when my husband and I have guests over, they have fun torching their own desserts.
Of course, a kitchen torch can be used for more than just crème brûlée. Kitchen torches can be used to toast marshmallows, roast peppers, melt cheese, caramelize Brussels sprouts, brown meringue, and so on. You can use them to make s’mores and s’mores-themed desserts without the need for a campfire and crisp up dinner proteins like steak or shrimp.
You can even go beyond the kitchen and use the Bernzomatic ST2200 torch for electrical soldering, fixing jewelry, and detail work on metal and wood. So if your hobbies go beyond baking, you can feel even better about picking up this multitasking tool. And even if you’re just using it to make crème brûlée when you want to feel fancy (it’s me, hi), at around $30, it’s pretty affordable as far as kitchen tools go.
The continuous flame lock at the side allows me to focus on torching the food evenly rather than keeping my finger on the trigger.
The latest version of the ST2200 has gold accents (instead of blue) and comes with a 3-in-1 versatile tip that works as a micro torch, fine soldering tip, and hot blower. It’s butane-powered and refillable, but note that the compatible Bernzomatic BF55 Butane Cylinder is sold separately.
In practice, I’ve found the torch to be relatively simple to use. It’s comfortable to hold in my hand, and the continuous flame lock at the side allows me to focus on torching the food evenly rather than keeping my finger on the trigger. There’s also a knob on the other side to adjust the intensity of the flame. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with my Bernzomatic ST2200 torch and look forward to using it to make more beautiful desserts.
Fuel Type: Butane | Weight: 6.5 ounces | Warranty: 3 years
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Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance writer, editor, and former New Yorker based in sunny Panama City Beach, Florida. Her writing has been featured in HuffPost Food & Drink, Forbes.com, Insider, The Kitchn, MarthaStewart.com, Thrillist, and more.