In a small bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together.
Add the vanilla and egg yolk. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
Sprinkle the flour, baking soda, and salt over the wet ingredients, and stir until just mixed.
Fold in the white chocolate chips. Set aside.
Add the caramel bits and heavy cream to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring after each time, until smooth and fully combined. Allow the caramel mixture to cool slightly- not so much that it becomes thick and hard, but you don't want it piping hot either.
Scoop the dough into 8-12 portions depending on how many cookies you want. They will spread some- so leave at least 1-2 inches between each scoop of dough.
Use a spoon to drizzle caramel over each ball of cookie dough. (Note: You will have caramel leftover. You just want a thin drizzle on each ball of dough, don't try to coat the entire surface. See image above.)
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Do NOT overbake. They may look doughy on the inside- but they will continue to bake while they cool.
Immediately top with flaky sea salt after removing from the oven.
Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
I use a 1.5in cookie scoop to make 8 cookies. You can make bigger (6 cookies) or smaller (12 cookies) depending on the size of your scoop, but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
You will have caramel leftover... feel free to eat it with a spoon. :) Or drizzle more on after the cookies bake.