iced oatmeal cookies

Let cookie season commence! Maybe you’re thinking it’s a little early to declare the beginning of cookie season. But before you know it, it will be Halloween which turns into November which turns into December and cookies will be flying in and out of your oven. So why not get a head start, a little pre-holiday warm up?

The truth of the matter is that I’m just excited about these cookies. And I need to share them with you. Right now. I’m not sure why I waited so long, but almost a year has passed since I flagged this recipe and I couldn’t be more happy about finally getting around to it.

In Good to the Grain, Kim Boyce describes these cookies as being reminiscent of Mother’s iced oatmeal cookies. She couldn’t be more dead-on. When I was growing up, my maternal grandmother always kept a package Mother’s cookies on her kitchen table. I never realized until just a few years ago that Mother’s Cookies were a West Coast thing. Being that their factory was in Oakland, they were in just about every grocery store in the Bay Area during my childhood. The iced oatmeal were my favorite (I also loved the pink and white, sprinkle covered Circus Animal cookies). Dunked in a cold glass of milk, the crisp cookie would soften slightly and melt in your mouth on contact. It was the best after school treat.

These are the closest I’ve come to a homemade version of the Mother’s classic. It’s a crunchy cookie, not wafer thin, but not as bulky as your typical oatmeal cookie, with a hardened drizzle of sugary icing on top. They have a nice amount of spice from cinnamon and nutmeg. And they’re just a bit buttery, which might make them even better than the original.

iced oatmeal cookies

adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

makes 16-20 cookies

dry mix:

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups multigrain flour mix (see below for recipe)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

wet mix:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 eggs


2-1/4 cups powdered sugar

5 to 6 tablespoons whole milk

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

multigrain flour:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup barley flour

1/4 cup millet flour

1/4 cup rye flour

For the multigrain flour, measure all the flours into a bowl and whisk together.

Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease two baking sheets with butter or line with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind the oats to a coarse meal that still has a few large flakes, about 10 seconds.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring any remaining bits left in the sifter into the bowl. Add the ground oats to the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the butter and eggs until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine.

If you want thin cookies, bake the dough just after you mix it. For a thicker, chewier cookie, chill the dough for at least an hour.

For large cookies, scoop balls of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the cookie sheets, leaving 3 inches between them, or 6 per sheet – the cookies will spread quite a bit, so do not put them too close together. (If you prefer a medium size cookie, an extra heaping tablespoon of dough should do the trick.)

Bake for 16-20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The cookies are ready when they are evenly brown across the top. Cool the cookies on a rack while you bake the rest of the dough and make the frosting.

For the frosting, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, and salt until smooth  and about the consistency of honey. If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Decorate the cooled cookies on a rack or a sheet of parchment. Drizzle the icing over the cookies one at a time, making irregular lattice designs over the entire tops of the cookies. Let the frosting set for 30 minutes before eating. Cookies are best eaten the day they’re made. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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