Recipes & Food

The Cookie Yard

There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked cookies, still warm from the oven.

Real Estate agents even suggest you bake a fresh batch just before an open house session to entice potential buyers.


12 years ago, Karen Jossel discovered her passion for baking. She believed there was nothing better than a thoughtful, homemade gift, so she started baking delicious homemade gifts, packaging them beautifully and giving them to friends. They became such a hit that she was encouraged to expand and so Bags of Bites was born. It has become a family run business and Bags of Bites bakes delicious cookies, rusks, shortbread, biscotti and muesli. They’re all made from treasured, perfected recipes and the main ingredient is definitely love.

On a windy Friday morning, after an audition, I headed into Woodstock to The Cookie Yard, which is just opposite the AFDA School. The Cookie Yard is a coffee and cookie shop and further in, is the heartbeat of Bags of Bites, where all the baking magic happens.

We were welcomed out of the gale force wind by Ryan Jossel, and I was instantly drawn by the spaces energy, warmth and delicious smells.

You can order a coffee, juice, smoothie, hot chocolate, a breakfast, some gourmet sandwiches, amazing cakes and of course, cookies, and then take a seat. 

I love the big wooden table right in the centre with all the lights hanging above. Pick a spot, greet your neighbour and get working or chatting (or both.)

Let’s get into the cookies shall we… They’re on display for you to take home with you, or you can order one with your drink of choice at the coffee bar.

Chewy Date, Pecan and Apricot Squares

Everyone was raving about these, and I quote: “Life changing brownies.”

Date Balls

One of the patrons had ordered a Salmon, cream cheese and rocket bagel and it looked so good I asked her if I could photograph it.

I ordered a flat white coffee…

It arrived with a smile and foam artwork…

In between our coffees and chats, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Bags of Bites production area.

The various flours are kept in areas that are health certified. There cannot be any contamination between the different flours, especially since they’re highly aware of allergies, and everything needs to be labelled correctly. Gluten free flour can’t be next to normal flour. Nuts need to be kept separately for those with nut allergies and so on.

The kitchen was being cleaned thoroughly when I arrived, so I didn’t get to see the actual baking processes.

These rusks were cooling down fresh from the oven, waiting to be packaged by all the smiling, hair netted women.

Rolls of labels, all colour co-ordinated for the products and for the specifications sit on this shelf waiting to be placed.

Blue – Dairy free.

Pink – Wheat free.

Orange – No added sugar.

Dark green – Wheat and dairy free.

Yellow – No added sugar, wheat free and dairy free.

Light green – Wheat free and no sugar added. 

I captured a moment that made my heart smile. Every Friday morning, the biscuits that aren’t 100% perfect for retail, for example, those which didn’t come out in the perfect shape or that broke etc, are bagged and sold for R5 to the community in the area.

After seeing the kitchen and the production line, we headed back into The Cookie Yard for more coffee.

Even though I am Banting, I can still appreciate an amazing cookie, so I was thrilled when Ryan pulled out these bag of bites for me (see what I did there?)

These Date and Rosemary Crackers are so more-ish!

If you want to see where you can buy Bags of Bites in your area, click here.

Visit The Cookie Yard every Monday – Friday between 07h30 and 15h30. Here’s the address:

4 Tasman Rd Observatory, 7700 Cape Town, South Africa

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