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1. In a heavy small saucepan, heat and stir the 3/4 cup chopped candies until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool about 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until well combined. Beat in cooled chocolate, eggs, and vanilla. Beat or stir in flour. Cover and chill 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using about 1 tablespoon of dough per ball, shape dough into 1-1/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until edges are set (tops should crackle). Sprinkle a few candy pieces on top of each cookie; do not press candies into cookies. Bake 1 minute more. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 36 cookies.