Tangy lemon and juniper bars


Inspired by the British love of gin with a twist of lemon, these just-sweet-enough lemon bars are made with a juniper and coriander-infused shortbread base. The topping calls for a full 120 ml of lemon juice, but make sure to use fresh as the bottled stuff doesn’t have the same aroma, and can taste bitter.

This recipe is taken from A Whisper of Cardamom by Eleanor Ford (Murdoch Books, £26) Photography: Ola O. Smit

First published in 2024
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Eleanor says: 'Lemon bars are a US classic, so I turned to one of the grand dames of American baking, Alice Medrich, for inspiration in this recipe. It was her saying that some deemed her bars too lip-puckeringly sour that made me know I would love them. I have taken a liberty with Anglo-American relations, adding a British twist with the flavours of gin. Everyone knows gin and lemon are the perfect match, so it follows that the spirit’s key botanicals – juniper and coriander seed – fit beautifully in the buttery biscuit base of a lemon bar.'

Spice switch: Lavender in the biscuit base is rather lovely. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh lavender flowers in place of the spices.




Biscuit base

Tangy topping

  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 45g of plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 120ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed


  • 20x20cm square cake tin



Line a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin with baking parchment. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan (350°F)


For the biscuit base, grind together the juniper and coriander using the salt as an abrasive. Breathe in the gin-like scent. Mix the spices into the melted butter with the sugar. Stir through the flour, just until combined. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking tin


Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the base is golden in the centre and well browned at the edges


Whilst the base is baking, make the topping. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Stir in the eggs followed by the lemon zest and juice

  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 45g of plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 120ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

When the base is ready, turn down the oven to 150°C/130°C fan (300°F). Slide out the oven rack, pour the topping straight onto the hot biscuit base and gingerly slide back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes longer, or until there is only the faintest jiggle in the centre if you tap the side of the tin


Cool completely in the tin, then lift out onto a chopping board. The foamy tops don’t concern me but if they do you, blot with kitchen paper to let the sunny yellow shine, or dust with icing sugar. Slice into 16 squares. They will keep in the fridge for 3 days

First published in 2024

Eleanor Ford is an award-winning author writing about food and travel.

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