Those of you out there with kids away at college will relate to this.  My second born son, Taylor, is a senior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. That happens to be 2,483 miles away from me!  He stayed at Duke this summer to do research for a favorite professor and then finished off the summer in Europe.  So, the last time he was home in Lake Arrowhead it was snowing!

The College Care Package,

I miss his smiling face……, #College Care Package

I miss him being silly with his little brother……, #College Care Package

I miss him in his pink alligator shirt……, #College Care Packages

I miss him in his bright blue alligator shirt……, #College Care Package

And I miss him in his light blue alligator shirt……, #College Care Package

I miss him when he’s with his girlfriend wearing a “Thing 2” shirt, shaggy hair and all……, #College Care Package

And I even miss him when he’s wearing a sweaty, smelly tennis shirt.

But now it seems the only shirts he ever wears say Duke on them., College Care Package

He wears them when he goes to Washington, DC……, College Care Package

He wears them when he’s drinking Sangria in Barcelona, Spain……, College Care Package

He wears them with a guy named Luis Munoz Marin in Puerto Rico……, College Care Package

He wears them on Ellis Island with Lady Liberty……, College Care Package, #Madrid, Spain

And he wears them in Madrid when he visits the queen., College Care Package, #DUKE

But I’m his mom and I miss him even when he isn’t wearing a shirt at all!  He’s the one wearing “G”.

In fact, I even miss washing and ironing his shirts!!!!!

So what does a mother do when she misses doing her son’s laundry?  She bakes him cookies of course!

I have the best recipe for soft, chewy and moist walnut oatmeal cookies that really hold up to shipping and are perfect for college care packages.  Everyone who eats my oatmeal cookies raves about them and wants the recipe.  Well, my recipe happens to be right on the box of Quaker Oatmeal!   Who better to know how to make Oatmeal Cookies than the oatmeal makers themselves?  But what sets my Oatmeal Cookies apart from the rest is owed to correct preparation, accurate measuring and proper baking techniques.  There is a science to baking.  Learn the science, treat your baking like a science experiment and you will have a great outcome!

Follow these step-by-step instructions and you too can ship your college student some dorm-room-delight., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Cut 1 stick + 6 tablespoons of softened butter into cubes and plop them into your mixing bowl., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Firmly pack ¾ cup of light brown sugar into a measuring cup for “dry” ingredients.  You’ll know you have an accurate measurement if, when you plop it into the mixing bowl, it holds the shape of the measuring cup., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Next, add ½ cup of granulated sugar., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Cream the butter and sugar together.  The creaming process adds air to the cookie dough and, when adequately creamed, the sugar will lose its grainy texture and become light and fluffy.  It will go from this dark brown color…………, #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

………… to a light brown color like this.  Keep beating until the creamed mixture is light and fluffy and less grainy., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe calls for 2 eggs, beaten.  I don’t ever break my eggs directly into the batter.  It is best to break them into a separate bowl, inspect them for stray eggshells and use a fork to beat the eggs up until the yolk and the white are well incorporated.  Then, dump them into the creamed butter and sugar mixture.

This is also the time to add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and if you’re smarter than me, you would have remembered to take a photo of that step., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Measure 1 ½  cups of white all purpose flour into a sifter.  Don’t look at mine; it is probably older than I am!  I’m going to ask Santa for a new one., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Add in 1 teaspoon of baking powder., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

And ½ teaspoon of salt., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

And 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Then sift the dry ingredients onto a plate or into a bowl., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Returning to the mixture of creamed butter, sugar and eggs, scoop the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and incorporate them using the lowest speed on your mixer., #College Care Package, #oatmeal Cookies

Do not over mix. Stop mixing once the flour is incorporated., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Now it’s time to add 3 cups of oatmeal.  I use the “Old Fashioned” type instead of the “Quick Cooking” oats, although I imagine either type would suffice., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

If you like nuts, toss in about two cups of walnuts.  Pecans can also be used in this recipe. Because I love them, I prefer the walnuts in my cookies to be left in large, chunky pieces.  You might prefer to give yours a rough chop first.  And if you’re one of those people that like raisins in their oatmeal cookies (that would not be me), now would be the time to put in a cup of those too., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Turn on the mixer and give it a quick mix on the lowest speed., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Now, hopefully, you have a handy dandy scoop like mine.  If not, run out and buy one because they come in real handy for lots of things.  The use of a scoop produces cookies that are uniform in size.  Being uniform in size, they will cook evenly and will all be done at the same time.  They also look a heck of a lot nicer., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Scoop the batter onto an un-greased cookie sheet, spacing them evenly, about 2 inches apart.  They need room to spread out during the baking process.  Hopefully your cookie sheets are prettier than mine., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Place the cookie sheets into the center of the oven, pre-heated to 350º F.  Unless you have a really good, super-duper convection oven, it is usually best to bake one cookie sheet at a time.  This way the heat can circulate evenly around the cookies so they all cook uniformly.  Don’t let your cookie sheet touch the sides of the oven, or, if cooking more than one sheet at a time, don’t let the cookie sheets touch each other.

Timing is everything with cookies.  It will vary slightly because every oven is different.  In my oven these cookies require exactly 8 minutes to achieve perfection., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

After 8 minutes the cookies will appear slightly doughy and almost under-done.  That is a good thing!  They will be a light golden brown in color.  Let them cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet.  This allows them to set-up and they will continue to cook as they cool., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

After one minute, carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place them on a wire cooling rack., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

Once they are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container or zip lock bag.  Or, if you have a kid 2,483 miles away at college, now is the time to get your cookies ready to ship.

I like to wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap.  I then slip them into a medium size zip lock bag.  Too many cookies in one bag will result in crushed cookies.  I then wrap each zip lock bag in bubble wrap, place them in a Priority Mail Shipping Box and send them on their way.  My son, who is 2,483 miles away, says that they arrive intact, fresh and still soft and chewy., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

If he’s nice, he might share them with his roommate.  Please don’t look at his messy dorm room:), #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

And, if you’re nice, you’ll save some for the rest of your family who are not 2,483 miles away at college., #College Care Packages, #Oatmeal Cookies

And, if you make a double batch, you might have enough left over to freeze some for a rainy day.

You can also freeze the dough and bake some up fresh on a rainy day, or when you need something sweet because you’re feeling particularly melancholy about the fact that your son is 2,483 miles away., College Care Package, #DUKE

Go Blue Devils!

Do you have a son or daughter away at college?  What kinds of things do you include in your college care packages?

PS – The Quaker Oat Company doesn’t know me from Adam.


Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These super moist and delicious Oatmeal Cookies are perfect for a college care package. They stay fresh, ship well and will provide a little taste of home to out-of-town students. Adapted from the Quaker Oats Company "Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie" recipe.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 27 Cookies
  • 1-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Cup (1 Stick) plus 6 Tbsp Butter, Softened
  • ¾/Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 Cups Walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350 F
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar 7 granulated sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
  5. Add dry ingredients to creamed sugar a cup at a time on low speed until incorporated. Do not over mix.
  6. Add oats and mix until just incorporated.
  7. Quickly mix in walnuts on low speed.
  8. Using a dough or ice cream scoop drop rounded dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  9. Set timer and bake cookies in pre-heated oven for 8 minutes. Cookies will appear pale and underdone but trust me, they are ready!
  10. Cool cookies 1 minute on cookie sheet to set up.
  11. Remove to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  12. Store in an airtight container or Ziplock bag.
Variations: You may substitute pecans for the walnuts or add 1 cup of raisins or 1 cup chocolate chips if desired.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own.   All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ and may not be reproduced without specific permission.