Unsweetened Chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate is nothing more than tempered chocolate liquor. Not too pleasant to taste for all but the most die-hard chocaholics, it is little more than ground cocoa bean, though the degree of grinding and processing varies from maker to maker. Most unsweetened chocolate weighs in at about 47% chocolate solids and 52% cocoa butter (which means it melts very nicely), the final 1% is usually a stabilizer like lecithin which keeps the chocolate emulsion from breaking.

Though it might not seem so, unsweetened chocolate has all sorts of uses, especially in cake and cookie batters. Baker’s is the classic American brand of unsweetened chocolate, though these days it’s easy to find unsweetened bars by manufacturers like Scharffen Berger and Callebaut in specialty shops.

14 thoughts on “Unsweetened Chocolate”

  1. My father learned that unsweetened chocolate was unpalatable the hard way! One day many years ago, we heard strange noises coming from the kitchen and found him trying to drink the sugar bowl. He’d taken a bite out of a square of baker’s chocolate trying to calm a craving for something sweet. That also taught him to read labels a little more carefully!

    1. Ha! Yeah I did that a time or tow as a kid…try to combine table sugar with unsweetened Baker’s. Didn’t work too well! 😉


      – Joe

  2. What is the stabby thing in the upper righthand corner of your picture? I see that it was used to break the chocolate, but does it do other tasks?

    1. Hey Alex!

      It’s an ice chipper, though several kitchen gadget manufacturers have re-labeled this particular design a “chocolate chipper”, which is why Mrs. Pastry has one! 😉

      – Joe

  3. I love unsweetened chocolate! It makes a great snack, if you pair a chunk it with a banana or other fruit, actually.

    I like bitter foods though, so results may vary 😉

    1. Oooh…that’s what Mrs. Pastry does…eats it with bananas. Just tiny slivers, and she makes it last forever!


      – Joe

  4. When I was little, I went in the kitchen and saw some chocolate and took a big bite. Hershey’s unsweetened. Happily the experience did not mark me. I still love dark chocolate.

    1. Ha! Yes I once did the same thing. What a disappointment!

      Thanks for the memories, Ellen! I think.

      – Joe

  5. I always have some unsweetened chocolate in the cupboard for making hot chocolate (with the addition of sugar, of course). Why use this type of chocolate? For self-control; any other kind I would eat in one sitting.

  6. Hi Joe!
    (Long time since I wrote, but I have been following along!)
    Interestingly, I never found unsweetened chocolate in either the UK or Italy; now I never specifically went looking for it in specialty shops, but I didn’t notice it there and definitely the big supermarkets didn’t have it. Anyway, once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get it, I just started using lightly sweetened “plain” (i.e. dark) chocolate, and haphazardly cut the sugar in whatever I was making. It worked out all right, and meant that I could enjoy whatever excess amounts I happened to buy 😉
    Since coming back to Canada, I’ve pretty much not bothered with unsweetened, and instead just use cheap imported bittersweet chocolate in bar form (mostly Polish). After all, one of the best things about cooking with chocolate should be “cleaning up” the leftovers from chopping or melting!

    1. I hear you, Jen. Really if unsweetened chocolate disappeared tomorrow I don’t think we bakers would be any worse off. A good, stout bittersweet would work for pretty much everything! Or so says I! 😉


      – Joe

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