Difference Between Croissant and Crescent

While looking up recipes for croissants, it has come to my attention that there may be some confusion between croissants and crescent rolls.

So, what's the difference between a croissant and a crescent?

For starters, their country of origin.  A croissant is a french pastry, made from laminated dough with many layers.  The dough is cut into triangles and then rolled up into the "croissant" shape, which confusingly enough is technically a "crescent" shape, like a crescent moon.

The pastry when baked is very flaky and rich from the butter lamination.  In France, variations include chocolate croissants, which is the croissant dough with a stick of chocolate rolled in the middle.  For this type, the dough is usually square shaped instead.

A crescent, as far as I know, is an American invention.  It most commonly refers to the canned dough (Pillsbury crescent rolls) that you can find in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, next to the canned cinnamon roll and biscuit dough.

When you open the can, the dough comes out in a single rectangular sheet (after being unrolled) that has perforated cuts to shape the triangles.

You roll these up to make the crescent shape, just like croissants, then bake them.

The dough is not the same as croissant dough, but is it's own unique texture.  It's most similar to a cross between biscuit dough and soft yeast rolls.

Americans use crescents for just about anything from pizza rolls to s'mores crescents.

Sidenote: Americans also prefer to use croissants as bread for sandwiches. It's common to see breakfast sandwiches with croissants or lunch sandwiches like ham and turkey.  However, this is not common in France.

That is the difference between croissants and crescents.  Hopefully this helped clear up any confusion!