The center of Amsterdam is typically filled with tourists, but along De Heisteeg Street in a narrow alley, there is a line that defies reason.
Managers in tan hats tend to the line, making sure people don't get hit by passing bikes.
Those in line are waiting to get inside Van Stapele. The 5-year-old cookie shop looks like it's been there for decades.
In that five years, they've made just one cookie. A dense, rich chocolate that is somehow crisp along the edge but soft inside, aided by a thumb-sized nugget of molten white chocolate at the core.
The Amsterdam bakery makes enough dough for about 4,000 cookies per day and sells out every weekend.
The process for creating such a delicious cookie is meticulous. It begins by baking separate batches simultaneously before they are transferred to packages by using special spatulas. The cookies are placed in either wax paper bags or clear boxes, and everything comes tied up in ribbons. The packages even come with notes for reheating at home and urge that they be eaten within four days - but good luck waiting that long.
Dolinsky said after he posted pictures of the cookie on his Instagram feed, Kevin Roblee saw it and knew he wanted to take a crack at recreating it.
"We decided to recreate that very same cookie here in Chicago," Roblee said.
The baker and his assistant went through 16 iterations, literally studying pictures online, and after weeks of research and development they think they've cooked up a winner.
Roblee's company, Kokku Gourmet, operates from a kitchen located in the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls facility on the Near West Side.
"I tell all my friends that you can give me any food item and I can recreate it within 10 days," he said. "We took the picture of the cookie and 16 tries later, we're all set to go. We were playing with the ingredients, playing with the ratios. We ended up using six different kinds of chocolate. It's kind of like a detective story because you're looking for clues, you're looking for little indications online, different photos."
Roblee noticed that Van Stapele uses a pan that has tiny holes in it, so he used the same. He settled on eight ingredients for his cookie which includes sugar, molasses, cocoa powder and white chocolate.
"We had to spend a little bit more time working on exactly how big and how high that particular center should be to get the shape right," he said.
Now Kokku delivers the cookies warm into the Loop, but the best way to find them is to just go to their website.
In Steve's Extra Course Video, he takes a closer look at some of the other items you can order from Kokku Gourmet.
(Will deliver warm to the Loop)
Currently available at:
Politan Row Food Hall
111 N Aberdeen St.
Van Stapele Koekmakerij
+31 20 777 9327