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Spirit’s Cookie Issue in the Making

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If you’ve seen our September edition, you may be thinking, Why would Spirit devote an entire issue to cookies? (Actually, we hope you’re thinking, Woo-hoo! Spirit devoted its entire issue to cookies!) The answer is simple: They’re delicious! But they’re also deeply ingrained in American history, and in the childhood memories of us all.

When we cover food at Spirit, we bite into it from all sides. Perhaps you remember our April 2011 Egg issue, in which writer Francine Prose pondered the great chicken and egg argument, or our August 2012 Pie issue, where we introduced you to the citified pie baker taking up residence in the American Gothic house. When we sat down to choose a food feature for 2013, we landed on cookies and did our usual far-reaching research.

That’s why in our September issue you’ll find everything from modern stats (Did you know that Oreos are sold in 100 countries?) to history lessons (Fortune cookies got their start during the California Gold Rush.). We even got to know “Famous” Wally Amos by sending executive editor John McAlley to Hawaii for a weekend-long stint with the storied, 77-year-old entrepreneur. This being a story about America’s most beloved, bite-size indulgence, we also featured some tempting edibles, including picky eater Anderson Cooper’s favorite New York City nosh and some inventive liquid pairings to boot—White Russian, anyone?

When it came to the cover, only one cookie would do: Nestlé’s Toll House chocolate chip. Even though you only see one, we made trays upon trays of these beauties while on set with photographer Levi Brown in New York City, all in an effort to create the most beautifully round (and browned) specimen. And if you think that perfectly crumbled bite happened by chance, think again. Levi himself tore into at least a dozen (tough job, right?) in order to clinch that cunning chomp.

Spirit art director Emily Kimbro also ran around Manhattan filling her shopping bag with cookies from some of New York’s most famed bakeries, including Momofuku Milk Bar and Buerre & Sel. As for the other all-stars in attendance that day, we had them shipped—from Sucré in New Orleans, Flour Bakery in Boston, and others. The best part? The Spirit staff got to nosh on the leftovers back in Dallas.

What kind of staff would we be if we didn’t share with you, our readers, though? We gathered recipes from culinary legends Dorie Greenspan, Martha Stewart, and Lidia Bastianch; Cooking Channel hosts Ingrid Hoffmann and Nadia G, Iron Chef Jose Garces, and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons. Download a printable cookbook here and dig in: http://www.spiritmag.com/cookies.