Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
Start by making the dough.
In a large bowl or stand mixer
, beat 1 cup butter until light and fluffy, 2 minutes or so, scraping the edges. If you have a mixer that is powerful enough, start with cold butter, otherwise you will have to let it soften a bit.
Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar and beat 1 more minute, scraping bottom and sides.
Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and beat well, scraping the edges and bottom of the bowl.
Add 2 cups flour (spooned and leveled!), but do not mix it yet. Add 1 cup cocoa powder (if your cocoa looks clumpy, sift it into the bowl through a strainer. You don't want chunks of cocoa in your cookies.) Don't stir yet.
Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the flour and cocoa a bit with a small spoon so you don't end up with any lumps of salt or soda in your cookies. Then beat the dry ingredients into the dough, but ONLY until just incorporated.
When the dough is just starting to come together and there are still streaks of flour, take a second to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Finish mixing it all together but don't go overboard; over-beaten cookies turn out tough. We want nice tender cookies.
Use a spoon or cookie scoop (this one is my favorite)
to scoop about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball. It should be about the size of a large walnut. Don't be alarmed that the dough is pretty sticky, I promise it bakes up great.
Add about 1/2 cup or more of granulated sugar to a bowl or plate. Roll each cookie dough ball in sugar, making sure it gets well coated.
Place each ball on the prepared baking sheet. I did 12 cookies per sheet, but make sure you have at least 1-2 inches in between each cookie.
Bake the cookies at 350 for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, crush the candy canes. Add 6-8 candy canes to a ziplock bag. Use a rolling pin or can of food to crush the candy canes as coarsely as you like. I find that the finer you crush them, the easier they stick to the cookies. Pour the candy into a bowl.
After 8 minutes in the oven, carefully remove the cookie pan from the oven and shut the door. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with the crushed candy canes. Use your fingers to gently press them in if necessary.
Return the pan to the oven for 2 minutes. The cookies need to bake a total of about 10 minutes. Use your best judgment, every oven is different and the size of the cookie affects the bake time. Do not over bake! When they are done, the edges will have cracked. The cookies should not be shiny in the middle. The edges should be firm.
Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
When the cookies are completely cool, they are ready to dip. Add 1 cup of dark or semi sweet chocolate chips to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon shortening to the bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring every time, until the chocolate chips are mostly melted. Stir until the mixture is completely smooth.
When the cookies are cool enough to handle without falling apart, dip each one halfway into the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then place back on the baking sheet that you baked the cookies on, which should have parchment paper or a silicone mat on it. (Or if you've already cleaned up your pans, you can place each dipped cookie on a sheet of wax paper.) Sprinkle extra crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate, if you want.
Let sit at room temperature until the chocolate has hardened. You can speed this up by sticking them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. These cookies are really delicious when chilled. You won't hear me say that very often! They are so good chilled with a cup of hot chocolate.
They are also great warmed up in the microwave for 10 seconds or so on day two. If you're a melty-chocolate kind of person. (I am :)