Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

3/4 cup butter
4 (1-ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Crushed peppermint candy

1. In a medium bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth (about 1 1/2 minutes total). Let cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in chocolate mixture.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until combined; dough will be very sticky. Cover dough with heavy-duty plastic wrap; freeze for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass dipped in sugar, flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are set and cookies begin to crack on top. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks.
6. In a medium bowl, combine white chocolate morsels and vegetable shortening. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth (about 1 minute total). Dip half of each cookie in white chocolate mixture, allowing excess to drain. Place cookies on waxed paper, and sprinkle the white chocolate half of each cookie with crushed peppermint. Let stand for 1 hour, or until white chocolate is set.

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