Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the vanilla and orange zest, and stir with a silicone spatula to combine.
Attach the bowl to the mixer and affix the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the coconut. Then, gradually pour in the egg whites and mix into a dough. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Using a 1 1/2-inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, scoop up the coconut mixture. With your other hand, lightly compress the mixture into the scoop so it will hold its shape better when released onto the pan. Release the coconut mixture onto the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining mixture, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the macaroons are light golden brown. Cool completely on the pan.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.
Photograph by Ellen Silverman
Raspberry Coconut Macaroons: Gently fold in 1 cup frozen crumbled raspberries to the completed dough and bake as directed. Chocolate-Drizzled Coconut Macaroons: After the macaroons have been baked and cooled, drizzle them with tempered chocolate for an added treat.
Recipe from Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth's Bakery, reprinted with permission from One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes, by Tracey Zabar, copyright (c) 2011. Published by Rizzoli.