This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, Alaina Chou writes about the corn crackers that satisfy her cravings year-round.
I love corn. I love corn so much, I bought enough in one go at the farmer’s market this past summer that the man ringing me up asked if I was “having a corn party.” No, I replied, I just really love corn. Every day is a corn party.
While it seemed the whole world was hot for corn last summer thanks to a seven-year-old named Tariq, my own corn fanaticism is no fleeting obsession. But eventually, the piles of perfectly sweet, juicy ears of corn at the farmers market start to dwindle, save for a few scrawny, slightly shriveled stragglers. In cornless times like these, there’s one snack I reach for: Craize Toasted Corn Crackers.
The idea for Craize came to Venezuelan-born Leo Cotter in 2013. His mission? To bring the flavors of traditional Latin American foods to more people by transforming them into everyday snacks. His crackers are a riff on the South American arepa, a griddled corn cake eaten plain or stuffed with anything from cheese to beans or meat. Arepas are typically made from a simple mixture of pre-cooked corn flour, water, and salt. Cotter’s creation starts with a similar corn flour-based dough, but whereas arepas are soft and pillowy, Craize are pressed thin and baked up into crunchy, more pantry-friendly crackers, to be topped with whatever your heart desires.
With seven flavors that run the gamut from fruity and sweet (the Coconut is a personal favorite) to nutty and savory (try the Everything, dipped in hummus), there’s an option for every corn lover out there. My pick for first-time Craize-ers is the Sweet Corn flavor, which tastes like a crunchy and concentrated interpretation of the sweet summer corn I love so dearly.
That intense corn flavor can be attributed to a unique toasting process and a short ingredient list that includes both finely ground corn flour and more coarsely textured cornmeal. Whatever alchemy Cotter has going on here, it results in a cracker with a snappy-not-crumbly crunch that means you can bite it in half without worrying about a mess of yellow crumbs in your lap—the perfect snack for a long car ride, IMO. Note, too, that the crackers are shockingly sturdy, an ideal vehicle for everything from guacamole to seven-layer dip. But I’d be lying if I told you I don’t typically eat them straight from the bag, merrily crunching and dreaming of summer.