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croissant

Pronunciation: [kwah-SAHN; KWAH-sawn; kruh-SAHNT]

The origin of this flaky, buttery-rich yeast roll dates back to 1686, when Austria was at war with Turkey. In the dead of night a group of bakers, hearing Turks tunneling under their kitchens, spread the alarm that subsequently led to the Turkish defeat. In turn, the vigilant bakers were awarded the privilege of creating a commemorative pastry in the shape of the crescent on the Turkish flag. Croissant is the French word for "crescent." Originally, the croissant was made from a rich bread dough. It wasn't until the early 1900s that a creative French baker had the inspiration to make it with a dough similar to puff pastry . . . and so a classic was born. Croissants can be made with buttered layers of yeast dough or puff pastry. They're sometimes stuffed (such as with a stick of chocolate or cheese) before being rolled into a crescent shape and baked. Croissants are generally thought of as breakfast pastries but can also be used for sandwiches and meal accompaniments.