The best-known culinary use for this flame-throwing tool is creating the crunchy caramelized sugar topping on crème brûlée, but we use it for lots more. Mini torches come in petite versions with short nozzles, but we prefer the slightly larger versions, such as the Bon Jour shown at right, which hold more butane and have longer nozzles that give you more control over the intensity of the flame.
1. Char the skin of bell peppers or chiles before peeling.
2. Melt shredded cheese on soups, toasts, or gratins.
3. Brown meringue.
4. Toast marshmallows.
5. Warm up dull chocolate ganache on a cake or tart so it looks shiny.
6. Heat a knife blade before slicing ice cream cake, cheesecake, or any sticky cake or pie.
7. Light candles or start a charcoal fire.