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A bear claw is a sweet breakfast Danish pastry, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s. It is an almond-flavored, yeast-raised pastry often shaped in a large, irregular semicircle with slices around the outside, or rectangular with partial slices along one side. As the dough rises the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear's toes. Bear claws contain almond paste or additionally raisins.
Fritters similar to bear claws are also offered by doughnut shops as paw-shaped doughnuts with apple pie–style filling, and may contain other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape, cherry, and apple. These are often referred to as an apple fritter, but the common interpretation of the bear claw is an almond-flavored pastry rather than a doughnut.
Bear claws are mentioned in the U.S. Regional Dialect Survey Results, Question #87, "Do you use the term 'bear claw' for a kind of pastry"?