1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease (or line with paper cups) a mini muffin pan or a filled teacakes pan.
2) In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and flavoring until well blended.
3) Add the baking powder and egg and beat until fluffy.
4) Mix in the flour.
5) Use a rounded teaspoon scoop to fill the 20 to 24 cups of your mini muffin pan. If you're using a filled teacakes pan, use two rounded teaspoonfuls per cup.
6) Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned around the edges.
7) Top with the caramel pieces, return to the oven, and bake for 1 to 2 minutes more — just until the caramel melts. If you're using caramel sauce, skip this step; simply drizzle it on just before serving.
8) Sprinkle the chopped almonds or crumbled bacon over the cookies while they're warm, so the toppings will stick. Top with a tiny pinch of salt.
9) Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then gently transfer to a cooling rack.
10) Repeat with the remaining batter and toppings.
Yield: 36 cookies from a mini-muffin pan; 18 from a filled teacakes pan.