This recipe began when Doug had a week with no bassoon work and an urge to make batches of chocolate something. Bryan won’t stand for untweaked chocolate—it has to be smoky, or spicy, or salty—so for this particular recipe, we went spicy. This sauce was one of the first of our own recipes that made it onto Big Gay Ice Cream Shop’s menu. Doug had just finished making a giant batch of what was then called “spicy chocolate sauce” when a text message blipped onto his phone. The message was from Stacy London and said simply, “You should name something on your menu Awesomesauce.” Stacy’s timing was impeccable, and that’s how a woman famous for not cooking named one of our items. She probably tells people she wrote the recipe, bless her heart.
Combine the sugar, milk, cinnamon sticks, and butter in a large saucepan and whisk vigorously over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until completely smooth. There should be no grittiness—all the sugar should be dissolved. Add the cocoa powder, salt, chili powder, cayenne, chocolate, and vanilla and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated; be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the saucepan to avoid burning the chocolate. The sauce will be silky and have a nice sheen when ready. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
Taste-test before using, and adjust the spices if necessary. Let cool somewhat before spooning over ice cream.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The leftover Awesomesauce is great reheated, for a sauce, and also good cold, as a rich, spicy spread.
Variation: For Not-So-Awesomesauce (meaning not spicy), leave out the chipotle and cayenne.
Reprinted from Big Gay Ice Cream. Copyright © 2015 by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Donny Tsang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.