Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Whipped Cream

Serves 6

4 mint-flavored hard candies

1/2 pt. heavy cream

2 tbsp. confectioner's sugar

1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract

3 ½ cups milk

1 cup half-and-half

8 oz. dark chocolate bar

1 tsp. vanilla


Unwrap mints and place in a small zipper-closure food storage bag; close bag. With a rolling pin, crush mints; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; add sugar and peppermint extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks form; cover and refrigerate. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and half-and-half just to a boil. Add chocolate; continue cooking, stirring with a whisk until chocolate melts and is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Divide hot chocolate among 6 mugs. Top with a dollop of whipped cream; sprinkle with crushed candy.