Kouign-Amann Image

Today I learned about a pastry that’s giving croissants a run for their money: the kouign-amann (pronounced “queen a-mahn”). Hailing from Brittany, France, this buttery pastry dates back to the 1860s.

Legend has it that a baker in Douarnenez, faced with leftover bread dough, decided to incorporate butter and sugar and then baked it. The outcome was an unexpectedly delightful treat which would later gain fame not just in Brittany, but globally.

The name itself is intriguing. Derived from the Breton language, “kouign” translates to “cake” and “amann” means “butter”. So, in essence, we’re enjoying a “butter cake”!

While it remained a regional specialty for years, the 21st century saw its rise in global popularity, thanks to gourmet food trends and the widespread influence of culinary media.

Next time you’re in a French patisserie, look beyond the croissant and give this rich, caramelized delight a try.