Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter until it begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer. Chill the butter in the freezer until it begins to solidify but not completely, about 10-15 minutes. The butter should have the same consistency as softened butter.
Toast 1 cup pecans until lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. Chop the pecans into small pieces and toss in ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Combine 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour with ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Remove the butter from the freezer and cream together with 1 cup brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add 2 teaspoon vanilla and mix to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans and transfer the cookie batter to a 10-inch cast-iron pan. Pour ¼ cup caramel on top of the batter and use a knife to swirl in the caramel.
Bake the southern butter pecan skillet cookie for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. The center of the cookie will still be slightly gooey. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and extra caramel sauce if desired.