Baking & Desserts
apr 2, 2021

Sasha’s Basic Baking Toolkit

Civic Kitchen instructor SASHA CREHAN helps simplify the wonderful world of baking. Read on for her must-have ingredients, essential tools, and game changing advice to help you bake, bake, bake! While you stock your pantry, shake up a batch of her Rhubarb Pie Cocktail included below, part of Sasha’s new Fruit of the Month class series! Click here to learn more.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Sugars—granulated, powdered and brown
  • Good quality eggs—grade AA and preferably pastured raised and organic
  • Leaveners—baking powder, baking soda
  • Nuts—walnuts, pecans, almonds
  • Fruit
  • Spices
  • Vanilla extract and/or beans
  • Chocolate
  • Gluten free and nut flours
  • Sheet pan, 8-inch round cake pan, pie pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Sharp paring and chef’s knives
  • Kitchen scale, or good set of both liquid and dry measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk and rubber spatula
  • Stand mixer-or hand held mixer
  • Several mixing bowls of various sizes
  • Medium saucepan
  • Make sure your oven is correctly calibrated, or buy an oven thermometer.
  • Make sure ingredients are at the temperature indicated by the recipe—especially eggs and butter.
  • Cream butter and sugar together to the right stage, depending on what you are baking.
  • Know that baking times are often approximate—smell, touch, and appearance are usually better indicators of doneness.

Rhubarb Pie Cocktail

(or Mocktail)

Author Sasha Crehan

The lightly encrusted cinnamon sugar rim of this cocktail will remind you of the intoxicating aroma of a pie coming out of the oven. It’s a perfect match for the sweet/tart cocktail.

Adapted from: Altitude Spirits in Boulder Locavore
Yield   4 cocktails


For the Cocktail

12 oz. rhubarb (about 5 stalks), cubed

¾ cup granulated sugar

8 oz. vodka

Ice cubes

16 oz sparkling water

For Rimming the Glasses

1 lemon wedge

¼ cup granulated sugar

a pinch of ground cinnamon


Cook the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the rhubarb starts to soften, but before it falls apart—about 5 minutes—use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl. (Save the poached rhubarb to top ice cream or fill shortcakes.)
Cook down the remaining rhubarb liquid in the pan until it thickens and turns syrupy, about 5 minutes longer. You should have about 4 oz./½ cup) of syrup. Cool the syrup over an ice bath. It will thicken further as it cools.
To rim the glasses: Gently run the lemon wedge around the rims of 4 cocktail glasses, removing any clinging pulp. Mix the sugar and ground cinnamon on a small plate. Rim the glasses by turning each moistened rim upside down onto the cinnamon sugar plate. Turn the glasses right side up, fill with ice cubes and set aside while you mix the cocktails.
To make the cocktails: Fill a cocktail beaker (or Mason jar) with 4 oz. rhubarb syrup and 8 oz. vodka, then add ice. (You may have to mix in two batches, depending on the size of your shaker.) Shake for 30 seconds and then strain equal amounts into each of the four glasses. Top with sparkling water and stir gently.