It's fun to use pistachios for some of these and pecans for others, but of course you can stick with one or the other. It's best to bake them on a dry day; if it's even slightly humid, the meringues may take longer to crisp in the oven. The meringues can be made up to five days ahead and stored in a cool, dry place.
Small black nonpareil candies for the eyes are sold in candy stores. Black mustard seeds may also be used; place these and the almond ears with tweezers. Or use a small round tip to pipe dots of melted chocolate for eyes and noses.
These floral meringues are perfect for spring. With bursts of lemon, they taste as sunny as they look. Don't worry if the petals look messy -- the candied peel at the center of each flower covers flaws.
To make cookies uniform in size, scoop rounded measuring tablespoons of meringue mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Use your fingers to get all the meringue out
of the spoon (it is quite sticky). Don't bake on a humid day, or your meringues may not dry.
Bake these delicious cookies when you don't have other plans for the oven, because they'll need three hours at a very low heat to reach just the right white crispness on the outside and a perfect tenderness on the inside. Make sure they don't brown. You can vary the recipe, adding coarsely chopped dried apricots or prunes instead of chocolate chips.