In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Stir in the hot water until mixture forms a paste. Whisk in half-and-half and milk.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat
setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (Do not boil). Add bittersweet chocolate,
whisking until chocolate is melted.
If necessary, skim "skin" from surface; discard. Serve immediately or
keep warm, covered, on warm-heat setting or low-heat setting for up to 2
To serve, stir in vanilla and peppermint extract. Top each serving with
sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed
peppermint candies. Garnish each serving with a small candy cane.