Down-Under Author Mary Hawkins & Her Mum’s "Biscuit" Recipe

One of the wonderful thing about being an author in this time is the Internet which allows us to have “friends” around the world. Mary Hawkins and I met on the “net” in the mid-90’s when we were helping get Faith, Hope & Love the inspirational romance chapter of Romance Writers of America started. I have always found Mary a delight.
Now to help Mary out, would you please look in your local bookstore for her new books? If you do, let me know and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for one of my September books. OKAY? Here’s Mary:

“A strong woman. My mum.
For many weeks there was only a tent on the new grain farm on the black soil plains in Queensland nearly two thousands miles away from their comfortable home and family in South Australia. Her seven month old baby nearly died from heat exhaustion on the rough roads across the continent in an old truck. When her second baby was born only a barn had been built and one section became the living quarters. Sometimes she longed to see her mother and family so far away but World War II had come, making the three to four day journey by train even harder. Sometimes she was so lonely to see another woman she held a mirror up to her face and said “hello.”

Two more children were born and, over all the ups and downs of making the farm prosper, she worked hard side by side with her husband ploughing, reaping, caring for the animals. Most of all her love for her husband, their four children and her Lord never faltered. The children learnt about faith in God from the moment they were born – in fact even while in the womb through all those early, difficult days she prayed for each child.

Then tragedy struck. A widow at thirty-nine years old there was only the eldest boy just eighteen to help her run the farm, a daughter in senior High School, another daughter and the youngest just turned ten at school. Death duties simply left very little money to survive. She took all kinds of menial jobs for the family to manage during the next few difficult years that followed but her children hardly knew until years later just how poor they were. Over the years as her children became adults, she wept with them when they wept, rejoiced with them when they rejoiced and just kept on praying for them and her grandchildren until the day she died last year at the age of ninety-two years.

Today all four of her children love the Lord and I am so proud of that strong, beautiful and loving woman who was my mother. She showed and taught me so much about the joy and peace that can only truly come from a life lived as the Christ of the Cross would have us live.

A favourite question readers like to ask of authors is “are your characters based on real people?” My immediate response is usually “no” but over the years I am realising more and more that we can only portray authentic characters from “real” people that we have met or known intimately over the years. Sure, the settings may be different, their appearance different, but sometimes people we know do creep into our stories. Without deliberately doing so, somehow over the years my dear mother’s nature has crept into some of my books. My first Heartsong Presents, Search For Tomorrow, is set in the farming area I grew up in. The hero’s mother is a widow with a strong faith. She teaches the heroine to cook as my mother tried to teach me.

After I had finished writing it, I realised somehow Mum’s faith had crept also into this recent book just released in America, Return to Baragula. She is mirrored in the reaction of the heroine’s mother to her daughter’s crisis of faith. I am just so thankful I never experienced what Emily did after the wrong choice she made as a teenager that so hurt her mother, but if I had I know Mum would still have cried for and with me – even as she told me what she thought about my actions!

I still have many of Mum’s favourite recipes. One she made very regularly was an economical, quick, easy and nutritious biscuit – or cookie in U.S.A. language! ANZAC biscuits are even for sale now days in our shops here. Although they are no where near as moist or tasty as Mum’s, each time I see them there – or make them myself – I remember my mother.
Great for your summer or my winter here Downunder to pack for a picnic, something to nibble on a walk in the sunshine or to munch on while reading your favourite book.

ANZAC Biscuits

Put in a basin and mix:-
1cup rolled oats
1 cup finely shredded coconut
1 cup Self-Raising flour
1 cup sugar (may use brown)
¼ lb margarine
1 large tablespoon golden syrup – or honey

Dissolve 1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda in 2 tablespoons boiling water
Add to melted ingredients, stir and quickly pour over dry ingredients.
Mix thoroughly and put a teaspoon full on a greased tray. Press with a floured fork and cook in moderate oven until golden brown.
(Hint: may add a little more flour if too moist.) –Mary”

Now about Mary’s books!

Return to Baragula is an Australian story of love, forgiveness and a past that threatens to destroy it all. It is Mary’s 17th title but first by an Australian publisher, Ark House Press. Book One in her Baragula series, it was released in Australia in 2008 but not available to shops in the U.S. until this month. Book Two, Outback From Baragula, was also released to shops in Australasia, March 2009, but so far only available in America through the publisher. However, if you can be in Denver September 19th and visit the booksigning at the American Christian Fiction Writers‘ Conference, you might just be able to get a copy there and have it signed by Mary! Currently she is working hard to try and finish Book Three, Justice at Baragula, before her trip overseas.
Read more about Mary and her books, including where to see the video trailer of Return to Baragula, on her website

Mary, the recipe sounds easy and delicious. I will be trying it soon! And your books have beautiful covers and I will be looking for them! Remember, look for Mary’s books. Even if you don’t find them, let me know and I’ll enter you in a drawing for my September book.–Lyn


About Lyn Cote

Lyn Cote welcomes other authors to her "Strong Women, Brave Stories" blog to share stories of women who triumph over the challenges common to all women.
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5 Responses to Down-Under Author Mary Hawkins & Her Mum’s "Biscuit" Recipe

  1. Lyn Cote says:

    Crisco is all vegetable shortning similar to lard.

    And Edna, I'm going to include your recipe in the Yummy Recipes booklet.

    And I love the 500 F oven till the smoke alarm goes off. Great detail.

    You have the heart of a writer.

  2. Mary Hawkins says:

    Love your comment, Edna – especially that fire alarm telling you they are cooked! However, can you tell me what "chrisco" is? When trying to choose a recipe I tried to be careful it had ingedients known overseas but an Aussie has told me some may not know what golden syrup is! Just in case:- it is from sugar cane in the white sugar making process. First there is treacle, than golden sryup a little more refined,then brown sugar of various brown colours before that yummy white stuff! So many times when I read lovely sounding recipes from overseas I either haven't a clue what an ingredient is or can't find it in our shops!

  3. Edna says:

    I madke my mom's bisquits also, these are southern bisquits, I take a bowl with self-risin flour in it, make me a hole in the center, get a handful of chrisco, pour some canned milk and the same amount of water, mix with hand until it starts to stick together, not long, wash hands and then rool the dougn in a little flour so it want be sticky, and pinch off bisquits, roll around in your floured hand just a minute and place in greased pan, do this for all and then pat down with the back of your hand and bake in a 500 degree oven until they trun brown, my clue is then the fire estingter goes off. Really good and so easy, takes me about 5 minutes to get into oven, but I have been cooking thme for 48 years. That was what we had to eat a lot of times, when I was growing up for breakfast every morning, buttered bisquits and sometime sugar on them, then we had for supper cornbread and milk, but she cooked dinner at noon and we usually had some type of veg. We were poor


  4. Mary Hawkins says:

    Thanks, Sharon. Yes, the older I become myself I think the more I appreciate just how strong and brave Mum was. After Dad died she had to change from the "shy girl from the bush" that she really was to a woman standing up to lawyers, bank managers and a couple of guys in business who tried to mess with her.

  5. Sharon says:

    Great blog, Mary. Your mum was an amazing woman and her story is a reminder of just how hard "the good old days" were.

    A homemade ANZAC biscuit is the best, isn't it! And all those rolled oats almost make them a health food! LOL

    Have a wonderful trip!