The Kipferl, ancestor of the croissant, has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century.
In 1683, Vienna (the capital of Austria) was under siege by over a hundred thousand Ottoman Turks. After several months of trying to starve the city into submission, the Turks attempted to tunnel underneath the walls of the city. Fortunately for the entire city, some bakers hard at work in the middle of the night heard the sounds of the Turks digging and alerted the city’s defenders. This advance warning gave the defenders enough time to do something about the tunnel before it was completed. Soon, King John III of Poland arrived at the head of an army that defeated the Turks and forced them to retreat.
To celebrate the end of the siege and the part they had played in lifting it, several bakers in Vienna made a pastry in the shape of the crescents they had seen on the battle standards of the enemy. They called this new pastry the “Kipferl” which is the German word for “crescent” and continued baking if for many years to commemorate the Austrian victory over the Turks in 1683.
Princess Marie Antoinette came to France (1770) as a new bride when she was only 15. The young queen missed the simple cake in the shape of crescent of her homeland. To honor their new queen, the bakers in Paris made some “kipferls” of their own. The only difference was that they called it by the French word for crescent, “croissant” and made it looks more complex for royal dining table.