I just read the Special Report on cookie baking, and was horrified -- horrified! -- that nobody mentioned Leslie Glover Pendleton's excellent book (One Dough, Fifty Cookies) on this subject. LGP has done a lot of test kitchen work for Gourmet and has definite chops. I know the title makes the book sound like it has high suck potential, but the cookies I've made from it have been great -- exactly what Jim seemed to be seeking in the original bulletin board post. Pendleton describes how to make a basic butter cookie dough (which you can make in huge batches and freeze for future use) and then gives oodles of recipes for all kinds of great cookies -- drop cookies, bar cookies, refrigerator cookies (whatever those are) -- all which, of course, use the butter cookie dough as a foundation. I am so sorry I didn't mention this sooner... not that anyone seems to be hurting for recipes or ideas at this point!
On a similar note, I too am greatly saddened by Pepperidge Farm's gradual demise. In my childhood, they were the acme of storebought cookie elegance. But no longer.