Dial up the nostalgia with copy-cat Mother’s iced oatmeal cookies

Three iced oatmeal cookies on a plate

My Uncle Bob lives a couple doors down. He’s a retired oil engineer, a Brit, fond of black coffee, crispy toast, dry white wine and, on occasion, an iced oatmeal cookie. At this very moment, in fact, I’m pretty sure there is a package of Mother’s Iced Oatmeal cookies in a drawer in his kitchen, sealed very precisely with a rubber band.

I decided recently I’d try to make him a cookie that might please him like a Mother’s does and got to experimenting with copycat recipes. I wanted the dark color, uniform shape and that crinkle top with the frosting. The key to the crinkle, the internet says, is to lightly process the oats so they are just a little finer. (I think you could skip this step if you’re looking for taste rather than aesthetics.) The other tip is to frost them very lightly, just kissing the top of the cookie to the icing. These cookies have a dreamy softness and are a bit more delicate than the ones in Uncle Bob’s drawer, but when I sent them down the block, he didn’t seem to complain.

Iced oatmeal cookies

Makes 12 to 14 cookies


1 cup rolled oats

1 cup white flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats for about 10 one-second pulses. Add flour, soda, salt and spices. Pulse five more times. In a standing mixer on medium speed, beat butter until fluffy and add sugars. Beat until well combined. Add egg, molasses and vanilla. Shake the oat mixture a little at a time into the wet ingredients and beat until mixed evenly.

To make uniform cookies, scoop the dough with a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop and press them gently to flatten. Bake for 12 minutes and then allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan to set up before removing to a rack.

To make icing, stir sugar, vanilla and half-and-half vigorously until smooth. It will be thick. To frost the cookies, quickly dip the tops in the frosting so they just touch the surface and pull away, allowing any excess to drip off. The idea is to just kiss the tops of the cookie with frosting, avoiding a full dunk. The icing will be set after an hour or so.