Though their name is French for “crescent,” these flaky pastries actually hail from Vienna, Austria. The Kipferl, ancestor of the croissant, has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century, in various shapes. The Kipferl can be made plain or with nuts or other fillings (some consider the rugelach a form of Kipferl).The birth of the croissant itself–that is, its adaptation from the plainer form of Kipferl, before the invention of viennoiseries–can be dated to at least 1839 (some say 1838), when an Austrian artillery officer, August Zang, founded a Viennese bakery (“Boulangerie Viennoise”) at 92, rue de Richelieu in Paris. This bakery, which served Viennese specialities including the Kipferl and the Vienna loaf, quickly became popular and inspired French imitators (and the concept, if not the term, of viennoiserie, a 20th-century term for supposedly Vienna-style pastries). The French version of the Kipferl was named for its crescent (croissant) shape and has become an identifiable shape across the world.