A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s. A bear claw is usually filled with almond paste, and sometimes raisins, and often shaped in a semicircle with slices along the curved edge, or rectangular with partial slices along one side. As the dough rises, the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear's toes.
A bear claw may also be a yeast doughnut in a shape similar to that of the pastry. Such doughnuts may have an apple pie-style filling, or other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape or cherry. Bear claw may also refer to an apple fritter.
The name bear claw as used for a pastry is first attested in 1936. The phrase is more common in Western American English, 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?"