Five Reasons to Keep a Chocolate Bar on Hand

Other than the fact that your favorite hunk of dark chocolate makes a perfectly delightful dessert all on its own, it can dress up other desserts or morph into something entirely new. We've got five good reasons to have one stashed in your pantry (or fridge), ready to go...

A good chocolate bar is like the little black dress of desserts—versatile, classic, hard to resist, and almost always appropriate. Or (we're not finished with fashion), a great purse that adds some oo-la-la to a plain dish.

A few uses:
• If you want to serve just fruit for dessert, which can be lovely when it's hot out, break up a good chocolate bar alongside. It pairs well with any kind of berry and even clementine segments in winter. Those who want a little something more than fruit have it, and those trying to eat light can break off a tiny bite.

• Make some chocolate curls to top ice cream. Easy, fancy, and you'll forget it's just store-bought vanilla underneath.

• Add a few pieces to grilled fruit. Take this grilled peach with bourbon vanilla whipped cream, for instance. Sprinkle on some nuts and a few chunks of good chocolate, and it goes from simple to sublime (the chocolate melts on the hot fruit...mmm...)

• Make a quick ganache. If you have leftover pound cake or some fresh strawberries and just need a little something extra to put it over the top, a half a chocolate bar with a few tablespoons of heavy cream (or half-and-half) makes just enough ganache to drizzle or dip. Instant upgrade.

What else can you think of?

Related: Chocolate Artisan Profile: The Do-Gooders

(Image: Flickr member EverJean, licensed for use under Creative Commons)