Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Our Holiday Traditions: Wish Upon this Family’s Traditional Norwegian Wishing Cookie

Friends, family and neighbors bring their favorite goodies to share at the Schroeder's holiday cookie party

If you have a Christmas wish, you might want to give Seattle mom Tricia Schroeder’s holiday tradition a try. 

Every year, she and her family host a festive holiday cookie party, where friends, family and neighbors bring their favorite goodies to share. Tricia’s contribution is always her family’s traditional Norwegian Wishing Cookie. Her mother made the star-shaped, icing-drizzled cookies when Tricia was a child to celebrate her father’s proud Norwegian roots, and passed the recipe down to her daughter. Tricia continues to share the scrumptious gingerbread-like treats — and the fun folklore that goes with them. 

“You put the cookie in your hand and press the center with a finger from your other hand,” Tricia explains. “If it breaks in three pieces and you eat those pieces without saying anything, your wish comes true.”

Keeping quiet is the hard part. 

Tricia and her husband, Ryan, anticipate their holiday get-together at their Maple Leaf-neighborhood home for weeks. Her kids — Jacob, 5½, and Ellis, 2½ — love the party and the wishing cookies, but she and Ryan have been hosting the gathering since before they had children.

“It is an event,” Tricia says. “There are plates and plates of cookies all over the place. People really bring it. There are no store-bought cookies.”  

After sampling cookies galore, everyone goes home with a variety of sweets. 

“People look forward to it every year,” she says. “It’s a warm event, a break from all the shopping and rush, and a nice community.”


Norwegian Wishing Cookie


3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cardamom
1 cup butter
1½ cups sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon grated orange or lemon peel
Lace icing

Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until softened. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, molasses, water and orange or lemon peel and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well mixed. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Roll dough an eighth-inch thick; cut with cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 375° for 8 minutes or until done. Remove and cool. Using a decorating bag and writing tip, pipe on a design with the lace icing. Makes about 100 cookies.

Lace icing
Stir together 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla and enough light cream or milk to make icing of piping consistency. If desired, tint with a few drops of food coloring.

Silly or somber, elaborate or simple, every family creates their own unique ways of finding joy and warmth in the midst of winter. Our annual Seattle's Child tradition is to share your holiday traditions so we can celebrate and rejoice together that every family in our community is a one-of-a-kind creation forged from the past and building a brighter future for our kids.

Read about more of our family holiday traditions and holiday happenings here