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© Owen Franken / CORBIS

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Poilâne, Paris

“The secret is simplicity, most of the time,” said the late Lionel Poilâne of his signature Punition cookies. Kept in a basket on the counter for customers to nibble as they purchase their bread, the sugar cookies are named for the likely punishment fingers will receive if they pluck a hot one off a baking sheet. Poilâne grew up in his family’s namesake bakery, which was founded in 1932, and became a reluctant baker at age 14. Perhaps because of his initial resistance to the profession, he brought a rebellious spirit to it—eschewing the popular baguette in favor of the hefty four-plus-pound sourdough miche. Now the famed baker, who died in a helicopter crash in 2002, lives on through the bakery and the manufactory that he founded to ship handmade bread internationally. Innumerable loaves bear his “P” initial in flour relief, and the miche is commonly called pain Poilâne. 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi; 33-1/45-48-42-59; poilane.com.

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