Bear claw (pastry)

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Bear claw
Bear claw pastry.JPG
TypePastry, doughnut or fritter
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsDough, almond paste
Ingredients generally usedRaisins

A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, a type of Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s.[1] In Denmark a bear claw is referred to as kamme.[2] The name bear claw as used for a pastry is first attested in 1936.[3] The phrase is more common in Western American English,[1] and is included in the U.S. Regional Dialect Survey Results, Question #87, "Do you use the term 'bear claw' for a kind of pastry?"[4]


Most Danishes include the same basic ingredients such as eggs, yeast, flour, milk, sugar, and butter.[2] The bear claw is also made with "sweet dough" which is "bread dough with more shortening than usual".[5] One of the differences between most Danishes, besides taste, is seen in their shape.[2] A bear claw is usually filled with almond paste,[6] and sometimes raisins, and often shaped in a semicircle with slices along the curved edge, or rectangular with partial slices along one side.[7] As the dough rises, the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear's toes, hence the name.[8] A bear claw may also be a yeast doughnut in a shape similar to that of the pastry.[8] Such doughnuts may have an apple pie-style filling, or other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape or cherry.


A bear claw can be made by hand or by machine.[9] Bear claw can be hand-made by using a bear claw cutter that was invented in 1950 by James Fennell.[10] A 1948 patent describes the process of assembling the bear claw as rolling out the dough, layering filling onto it, folding the dough over, cutting small incisions to create the claw-like look, and finally cutting the dough into separate pastries.[9] The pastry can be curved into a half-circle at this point, which causes the "toes" to separate.[11]

Health and Nutrition[edit]

The bear claw from the restaurant chain Panera Bread is mostly made up of fats and carbohydrates with a small portion of it being protein.[12] This specific bear claw contains 23 grams of sugar per pastry, totaling in at about 500 calories. [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bear claw". Dictionary of American Regional English. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Roufs, Timothy G., and Kathleen Smyth Roufs. Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Gale eBooks, Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.
  3. ^ "Bear Claw". Retrieved Feb 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "Dialect Survey Results". Joshua Katz, Department of Statistics, NC State University. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  5. ^ “Frozen Cakes and Pastries.” ID : the Voice of Foodservice Distribution, vol. 29, no. 11, 1993, p. 113.
  6. ^ FrancesC. "Almond Bear Claws". Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  7. ^ Della-Piana, Patricia. J'eat? Playful Cookery. Lulu. p. 356. ISBN 9781300921059.
  8. ^ a b Pastry, Joe. "The Bear Claw". Joe Pastry. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  9. ^ a b Le, Conie Stiles (Jan 13, 1948), Production of coffee cakes, retrieved 2016-03-24. US Patent US 2434339 A. Filed 1944-03-22. Granted 1948-01-13.
  10. ^ C, Fennell James. “Bear Claw Cutter.” 1950.
  11. ^ Mushet, Cindy, Sur La Table (2008-10-21). "Bear Claw". The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 9780740773341.
  12. ^ a b "Panera Bear Claw Nutrition Facts". Retrieved 2020-10-29.

External links[edit]