First of all, please forgive the slightly dented look this Karslbader is sporting. I bought two last week, ate one right then and there on the sidewalk outside the bakery, flaky bits flying every which way, and then put the other in my bag before setting off on my way to Hugo's baby music class. I figured I'd have time to snap a shot of the Karlsbader later, but later turned out to be the next day, after I'd fished the bag out from under my wallet, a few of Hugo's toys, an empty milk bottle and some groceries. It looks a little worse for the wear here, so please imagine it slightly fluffed and puffed to get a good approximation of what it should look like when freshly purchased.
Second of all, if you don't already know about Czerr bakeries, consider this your hot tip. They are a family-owned small chain of bakeries found only in the greater Wilmersdorf-Friedenau-Schöneberg area. Their products are really solid and delicious (I'm partial to their Kosackenbrot, which makes fabulous whole wheaty toast, and their rustic rectangles of apricot cake, flavored with lavender or almonds) and it makes me feel good to support a family-owned, local bakery that doesn't import Brötchen from China or some similar nonsense.
But my main point is this: I'd forsake everything else Czerr makes to guarantee myself a lifetime supply of their Karlsbader. What, you've never heard of Karlsbader before? Well, I hadn't either until one morning shortly after I moved back to Berlin, I went to Czerr for some breakfast rolls, saw a croissant-type thing on the display shelf, was told it was a croissant made with bread dough instead of puff pastry, bought it, ate it and was smitten on the spot.
Fresh Karlsbader are crisp and flakey, but without any of the greasy fingers or leaden belly croissants can impart. They have that lovely minerally, yeasty tang of good bread dough, but are light as a feather, shattering all over the sidewalk or your plate, depending on where you eat them. I like to wodge a knife of orange marmalade inside of one and then eat it gingerly over my plate. I also like to eat them plain walking down the street. I think Karlsbader are an absolute treasure and one of the best reasons to prove why small independent bakeries must be kept alive by our patronage - if only to keep things like Karlsbader from disappearing from this earth. I've never seen them anywhere else.
Oh, and one last thing: if you want your own, you should head out early - Karlsbader are usually sold out by 11:00 am in the morning...