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Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies are fudgey, brownie and cookie-like all at once. You'd never believe they're free of many common allergens, including gluten, dairy, and can easily be made minus eggs and tree nuts.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies are fudgey, brownie and cookie-like all at once. You’d never believe they’re free of many common allergens, including gluten, dairy, and can easily be made free of eggs and tree nuts. Cookie photos by Kristen Joerger of tiny-gourmet.com  .

This Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe post has literally been years in the making.  A couple of years ago, I ran across a cookie recipe I really liked, and tinkered with it.  Soon, I was baking these babies up, and taking them to house parties, to weekends away, on hikes, and on road trips. People LOVE these cookies. I’ve heard people go so far as to call them “The best cookies I’ve ever had in my life.”

cookiesI’d bet money they’ve gotten me invited back a few places ;-)

They were a huge hit at my most recent yoga retreat.

People always request this recipe, yet I always got sidetracked.

You’d never guess these cookies are free of many common allergens. My goal was to make them taste chocolately and decadent, not diet. These cookies have no:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • egg (if you choose to veganize them, that is)
  • or tree nuts (if you choose the tree nut free option, that is)

Here are some of us at my most recent yoga retreat in upstate New York:

fall retreat group shot 2013 upstate

This magic batter traveled with me to my most recent yoga retreat, and the cookies were a huge hit when we packed them into the bagged picnic lunches we took with us to the apple orchard.

These cookies are packed with flavor and a beautiful texture.

Bria’s Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or almond butter, or, to go tree nut free, use sunflower seed butter.)
  • 1 cup UNSweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (I prefer dark brown)
  • 1 egg (replace egg by combining 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp warm water in a small bowl and stirring.  Allow a “jelly” to form after a few minutes and use this as your “egg”)
  • pinch teaspoon salt (leave out if your peanut butter is salted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, chunks, or half a cup of each (I used Trader Joe’s brand, as they are free of dairy)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a nice, roomy mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.

3. Begin adding in cocoa powder, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix until well incorporated and moist. If the batter gets too dry, add in bit of water, leftover coffee, or milk of choice to loosen it. Then remix. If batter becomes too loose, add in more cocoa powder to tighten it up.

4. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chips and/or chunks. Save the rest for garnish.

5. OPTIONAL/not always necessary: Stash mix in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while you prepare  your cookies sheets. I either line mine with parchment paper, or spray them with cooking spray. One of these days I WILL get a Silpat.

6. Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to make uniform sized dough balls. (I do this by hand and spoon, and each cookie is a generous tablespoon of dough). Do NOT smash cookies down.

7. Place 3-5 chocolate chips and/or chunks on the top of the cookies. You can flip the cookie dough ball upside down and get the chips to adhere that way.

8. Bake cookies for 9-14 minutes, until ever so faint cracks appear on the surface. I know 9-12 minutes is quite a range, but I find that variations in altitude and ovens really do make a difference in bake times. In my NYC toaster oven, these cookies are perfect at 8-10 minutes of baking. In Colorado, I had to go closer to 12 minutes, sometimes beyond, in the “big” oven, to get the right texture.

9. Let cool slightly (or a lot, your choice, but I can never wait too long to try these). Enjoy!

So there you have it. An easy, creative,  recipe that is so delicious, you’d never know it’s friendly to many “restricted” diets and actually kinda healthy.

Question Time:

What’s your go-to dessert?

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dragonfly briaI hope spring is treating everyone well. I just got back from a 3-day roadtrip to Montreal with some friends. It was fabulous!

Bria-and-yoga-Charlie-side-by-sideI’m headed out again to host my Yoga Getaway in St. Lucia.  Charles Polanco-Ali and I have put together a fabulous Yoga themed vacation on this beautiful Balenbouche-Beach-31Caribbean island, and we’re so excited to share time and Yoga with our participants.

To my wonderful NYC crew, I’ll be resuming my regular teaching schedule on Saturday, May 25.

Stay tuned after I get back, as I have some fresh new Yoga workshop ideas in the hopper, plus Yoga and cooking videos that are being worked on right now, PLUS a recipe or two.

Have a fabulous rest of your weekend everyone!

Shanti, shanti, shanti!


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dragonfly briaHello there, long time, no hang. I’m still around, and busy as always, prepping up for hosting a Yoga retreat St. Lucia, teaching classes, and wrapping up an ayurvedic detox/cleanse.
The cleanse has put me in the rejuvenation state of mind, body, and spirit, and inspired me to offer a very special Yoga workshop with this exact theme. Bonus: my retreat co-leader, Charlie, is co-teaching this weekend’s workshop with me.  If you’re in NYC, you should totally join us!

Join Bria and Charlie for a refreshing session of postures and breathing techniques that will cleanse, rejuvenate, and relax body and mind. Embrace a deeper connection of heart and soul, with aromatherapy delights to intensify your bliss. If you liked our recent Yoga for the Curious event, or weren’t able to make it, now’s your chance. You’ll love our latest Spring-y offering!


Saturday, May 4, 2013
4-6 PM

At Asali Yoga Center in Harlem
Asali is located on 135th St, between 7th and 8th Avenues (closer to 8th)  C train to 135th Street

$18 pre-paid

$20 at the door

Keep pre-payment easy breezy by using this secure link:

Pay here now via PayPal

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend :-)




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I think it’s beautiful, really, that Persian New Year is the first day of spring.

What a perfect time for fresh new beginnings!



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My next retreat IS somewhere beachy. St. Lucia, May 12-19, 2013, to be precise.

My next retreat IS somewhere beachy. St. Lucia, May 12-19, 2013, to be precise.

Wow, it’s really happening! I’m offering a Caribbean Yoga Getaway in St. Lucia with my dear friend and fellow Yoga teacher Charlie Polanco-Ali. For so long, I’ve wanted to host a tropical Yoga vacay AND to team up with Charlie on a Yoga project. Both are happening now. Talk about the power of dreams and manifestation.

I am so very grateful. Especially after some setbacks in the later portion of 2012 that, honestly, were quite draining. After a time of darkness, a progression like this feels that much sweeter.

Lately I’ve been so busy teaching my weekly NYC classes, working on St. Lucia logistics, and being social. There’s been precious little time for recipe development. I miss it!

Ideally, I’ll have some inspiring food for you guys soon. Until then, here’s some info on the St. Lucia Yoga Getaway. Have a great weekend! Dream some tropical dreams!

Mark your calendar for May 12-19, 2013!

Ever dream of an island getaway with perfect balance of fun sun and Yoga? Dream no more! This is the nature lover’s yoga retreat.

Horseback-Riding-St-LuciaCharlie’s last St. Lucia Yoga vacation SOLD OUT! Hop onboard now to secure your spot!

Join Bria Tavakoli & Charles Polanco-Ali for an unforgettable frolic in stunning St. Lucia. We’ll share our creative, intelligent, and healing Vinyasa yoga flow in a relaxing tropical setting.

Get unplugged.  Turn off your alarm clocks and awaken to the sound of song birds.  Turn off your sound machines and TVs and be lullabyed by the sound of ocean waves and the sight of starry nights.  Inhale fresh air, sunshine and renewed energy.  Exhale frustration, aggravation and anxiety.

Banyan-VerandaThe Balenbouche Estate offers an opportunity to step back in time and experience a more natural, simple and traditional St. Lucian way of life, which is authentic and environmentally and socially sustainable.  This secluded 200-acre paradise with its diverse and colorful variety of plants, animals, trails, valleys, views, beaches and waterways, offers an opportunity to get back in touch with our natural environment and ourselves.  We have booked the entire Balenbouche Estate property exclusively for you our guests! A Caribbean cocktail to wind your day down? Cool! It’s your getaway, so make it as chill or as active as you wish. Don’t wait…. Rejuvenate!

Banyan-Cottage-Living-RoomYour Caribbean holiday includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights accommodation at the Balenbouche Estate
  • Beautiful charming, vintage Cabana accommodations (two couples’/friends’ villas are available on a first come, first serve basis)
  • Daily Yoga practices, either on the beach, the lawn, or in the estate’s indoor Yoga barn
  • 3 Organic Meals Daily (with exception of arrival & departure days)
  • Meditation daily
  • Fun local island activities
  • Beachy time on a lush 200-acre private estate
  • Time to relax, chill, frolic, and dream
  • We have some fabulous group outings planned. Please note that guest cover their own: Airfare
    Optional Excursions (see this page for ideas)
    Spa Treatments
    Individual Car Rentals

???????????????????????????????No need to be a crazy Yoga pretzel type to rock this retreat. Child’s pose more your style? No problem. Never done Yoga? No biggie! Yoga stars, don’t worry…we have plenty of tricks and challenges up our Lulus for you to enjoy, too.

Prefer a Caribbean cocktail to wind your day down? Cool, enjoy it! It’s your getaway, so make it as chill or active as you wish.

Why Wait? Rejuvenate!

May is the PERFECT time to visit St. Lucia. It is far from both the rainy season and hurricane season. The average May temperature is a balmy 83 degrees F.

See tons of pics here.

Rates start at $1250 per person for double occupancy. Single occupancy is $1450 per person.

The last retreat Charlie ran in St. Lucia SOLD OUT. My retreats SELL OUT regularly. Sign up today to secure your spot. Don’t wait…Create…an amazing getaway for yourself and maybe someone close to you.

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My next retreat might be somewhere beachy.
A belated Happy 2013, everyone. Hope the new year is treating you wonderfully. I’m popping up quickly to alert my NYC Yoga students to some exciting schedule changes.
If you practice with me in Harlem, you’re in luck. Starting this weekend two of my weekend classes are now 90 minutes.
Sundays, 8-9:30 AM at the NYSC at 145th and 8th Avenue (Note the earlier start time)
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at the NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue
This is so exciting! So many of my Uptown yogis have been practicing with me for years now. Longer classes mean we can spend more time working on seated postures, challenge poses, meditation, breathing techniques, restorative postures, and enjoying a longer savasana. I’m open to requests, always, so if there’s something you want to explore, let me know.
One more thing…I’m working now on finalizing my next retreat. Hint: Looks like it will involve beaches!
Have a great weekend, everyone. Here’s my current teaching sked in case you needed something to tattoo to your forehead ;-) :
Mondays, 10:30 AM at NYSC at 23rd and Park. Format:  Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Mondays, 12:15 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Tuesdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 1:45 PM at NYSC at Grand Central.  Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 7 PM at The District. Format: Open Yoga (residential, members only)
Wednesdays, 12 PM at NYSC at Mercer. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 12 PM at NYSC at 59th and Park Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Saturdays, 12:30-2 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Sundays, 8:00-9:30 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga.

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A neighborhood park in Paris (Montmartre).

My New York students may have heard that I was away for a minute. I’m back now. Missed ya’ll! London and Paris were great. It was a total blessing to get to take such a trip, and I aim to post some related pics, recipes, and randomness about my trip eventually.

I know many of you have travels of your own planned and we move deeper into the holiday season. How can we keep our Yoga practices alive during this time? My thoughts:

1. Keep things simple. A few basic poses daily, plus even a minute of meditation can make a huge difference. For example, while I was away, I did the Five Tibetan Rites  almost daily.  I also meditated briefly most days.

Pajama Yoga, anyone? Here I am on my friend’s balcony in London, keeping my Yoga practice alive.

2. Do what you can to keep the connection to your practice, and yourself, alive. Part of Yoga is flexibility and nimbleness not only of the mind, but of the body. Ditch the “all or nothing mentality.” Instead of locking into a rigid idea of what your Yoga practice “should” be, why not fully focus on a few simple poses daily while away. You can get back to your favorite teachers and lengthier classes when you return.

3. Employ technology. Podcasts, Youtube vids, DVD’s if you’re feeling very 90s. More on some great options below.

4. Know that your practice might improve if you back off a bit. This totally happens to me. For example, my heels are closer to the ground now in downward facing dog than they were before I left. Yes, I was active on my trip, but in different ways, which allowed my body to heal and change in unexpected ways.

Bise wants to know if those are the mountains out there in the distance somewhere. Why yes, they are there, kitteh!

By the way, some of my students have asked me if I have any YouTube videos of my teaching. The answer is, “Not yet. But I am indeed working on that as a long-term project.” For reals.

Meanwhile, here are some tips for Yoga you can do at home, or on travels of your own:

Baron Baptiste in bakasana (crow pose).

If you’re looking for a podcast, Baron Baptiste Power Yoga is a solid bet. I haven’t personally studied with Baron, but have practiced via his videos.  Reliably good stuff.

Yoga Today is a pretty cool site. My favorite thing about them is that they practice out in nature, with beautiful natural scenery as a backdrop. They don’t flow as much as we do in most of my classes, just FYI. They offer a free weekly class. Remember, repetition brings nuance, so you could keep things simple by doing the free class throughout the week. More info from their site:

YogaToday.com photo courtesy by Jesse Brown.

Discover a new way to do yoga. Search, stream, and download from our library of over 200 one-hour video classes –in settings that harmonize with the postures and at the level and intensity that’s best for you.

Much more than a convenient practice, Yoga Today is a growing community where you can immerse yourself in a lifestyle of health and wellbeing.

Finally, YogaGlo is a site a few of my students are into. I’ll probably be into it myself very soon. Yes, as a teacher I do my own self-practice. But sometimes you want to be led and inspired by another person :-)

Yogaglo.com offers a cool variety of classes, including restorative Yoga, which I LOVE!

More on YogaGlo:
Our goal is to offer online classes free of advertising.  You get unlimited access to YogaGlo classes with an $18/month membership, the price you would normally pay for one class.  You can experience YogaGlo classes with full screen HD or normal quality video.  You can sort archived classes according to teacher, style, level, duration and specific use. 

I hope this info inspires you to keep your Yoga practice going if you have one, and perhaps to check out some Yoga if you’re curious. It’ll be a beautiful addition to your holiday season and life. Promise!

Let me know if you have any questions, ya hear?

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