Fruit and Nut Bars (Gluten and Dairy Free)

1 cup butter or non-dairy alternative (room temperature)
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
½ tsp. gluten-free almond extract
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups gluten-free flour + 1 tsp xanthan gum
½ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup of each chopped pecans and walnuts
½  cup dried tart cherries or cranberries
1 cup chopped dried figs
½ cup golden raisins or dried blueberries or chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a jelly roll pan (approximately 15″ x 10″) or cookie sheet with raised edges by wrapping foil over the top of the pan and greasing the foil-wrapped pan with cooking spray, shortening or butter. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening with the sugars, beating until the dough is light and fluffy. Gradually add in the vanilla and almond extracts and eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and xanthan gum, baking soda, flax seed meal, cinnamon and salt. Slowly beat this dry mixture into the first large bowl, mixing until incorporated.

Chop the dried fruit and nuts and stir into the dough. Spread the thick dough evenly across the prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool fully before cutting or removing. Cut horizontally and vertically (like a window pane) to form brownie-sized bars and remove carefully to a plate.

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