Unsweetened chocolate is a common ingredient when it comes to baking because, like unsweetened cocoa powder, it imparts a deep, intense cocoa flavor to cakes, cookies and other treats. Since it does’t have any sugar in it, unsweetened chocolates have a bitterness to them that (generally) makes them unsuitable for general snacking and some people simply consider it to be of lower quality than other chocolates. Unsweetened chocolate certainly doesn’t need to be of lower quality than other chocolates and the Trader Joe’s Single Origin Huila Unsweetened Baking Chocolate that I spotted at Trader Joe’s proves it.
This unsweetened chocolate is a single-origin, meaning that the beans that make up this bar are all from the Huila region of Colombia and are not blended with beans from other parts of the world. “Regular” bars of single origin chocolate are fairly common and that designation is an indicator that they will have a more distinct flavor profile than more broadly defined bars. This bar is no exception to that rule. Though this chocolate is not sweet at all, you can easily pick out citrus notes and a sweet fruitiness from the nutty flavor of the roasted cacao. It may not be sweet, but it is delicious and complex. When you bake with it, especially in a recipe that calls for a large quantity of chocolate, some of those flavors will transfer to your recipe.
The chocolate is packaged in 4-oz bars and each bar is broken into four individually-wrapped 1-oz squares. These smaller squares are very easy to work with and you don’t need to worry about the squares being anything other than perfectly fresh when you open them, even if you’ve had the bar sitting in your pantry for a while. These bars are a real step up from most of the unsweetened chocolate that you can find at grocery stores and are a nice addition to your baking arsenal.