In reading I've noted that some of the complaints with baking is that they don't crisp up as much as they would if they were fried. Unfortunately, I think you do need to use a certain amount of oil to get that affect but the good thing is that most of the oil will be left behind on the baking tray.
These particular falafel have been rolled in a mix of regular breadcrumbs, panko and sesame seeds - seeds sesame contain a fair amount of oil and in using them the theory is that baking will release their natural oil and help to crisp the falafel. Similarly, panko was used as it innately gives you an extra crispy texture to any crumbed item.
Sweet Potato Falafel
250 grams grated sweet potato
400 gram can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, roughly chopped
10 sage leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon baking powder
Steam the grated sweet potato for 2 minutes to just soften it slightly. I have taken this step as a precaution to ensure that the potato will be cooked - especially if are frying these rather than baking.
Place the onion, sage leaves, paprika, cumin and baking powder into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and sweet potato and process again until finely chopped.
Put the mixture into a bowl and add in a lightly whisked egg - stir to amalgamate before adding just enough breadcrumbs to create a malleable mix.
Take small amounts of the mix and roll into balls or for a quicker and more even result, use a small ice cream scoop to form the falafel.
Roll each ball into a mixture of breadcrumbs, panko and sesame seeds - I roughly used equal quantities of breadcrumb and panko and added enough sesame seeds to speckle the mixture. You could if you wanted, roll them completely in just the sesame seeds.
Store the falafel on kitchen towel lined containers in the fridge if you don't intend cooking them straight away.
Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper or silicon sheet. Drizzle oil on the paper and spread it roughly over the paper. Add the balls and roll them around to moisten.
Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for at least 30 minutes - check after 10 minutes and give them a shake to turn them over. Check again at 20 minutes and rearrange if necessary. Continue checking every 10 minutes until they golden. You will notice that oil will be released as they cook so once they are done, place them on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
Here they are sitting on their perfect partner - tabbouleh. They did have a good crisp shell around a moist interior.
There's one thing I did not do - I didn't actually fry these so I could make a direct comparison - I'll leave that as an excuse to make another batch!