These lemony meringue cookies look just like those famous peeps from JustBorn without the sugared coating and mallow-y insides. These lemon meringue peeps are crisp, light with a distinct lemon flavor!
Preheat the oven to 200°. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the sugar into a mini prep food processor and pulse for 10-20 seconds until very fine.
Add the egg whites to a bowl and with a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat until foamy and frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
Add sugar a little at a time, beating constantly. Add cream of tartar and salt and mix until well combined. The egg whites should be smooth and glossy. Add the lemon paste and food coloring and mix very well.
Fit the round tip into the piping bag and fill the bag with meringue mixture.
PIPE THE PEEPS:
Start piping the peeps by making a 2 1/2" x 1" body about 1/2" thick.
To make the "head" of the peep, start at the front end of the chick (you decide which is the front) and pipe a bit of meringue about 1/2" - 3/4" moving away from you and then returning back toward you (kind of like you're forming a "C" shape from the bottom, up).
To get the "beak" twist the piping tip and gently pull away from the head of the peep.
BAKE THE PEEPS:
Bake the peeps in the low oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the peeps are crisp and easily pull up from the parchment paper without denting. Cool the peeps to room temperature.
While the meringues cool, place the chocolate in a small bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring after each, until the chocolate is melted, glossy and smooth.
ADD THE EYES:
Dip the flat side of the skewer into the chocolate enough to just coat the end. Look down on the peep and figure out where you want the eyes to be placed. Dot the eyes gently onto the meringue -- do not smudge or paint -- dotting is the best method.
Let the chocolate dry for 20-60 minutes. Serve or transfer the meringue peeps to an airtight container for 1-2 days until ready to eat.
NOTE: Meringues can be temperamental and if there's too much humidity in the air, they'll go soft and lose their crisp texture. Make them on a day when the humidity is low.