As a more experienced, confident home chef, I decided to try again last night. I made all the fixings (which was pretty high-maintenece), including my very favorite hummus recipe ever, and then, followed a homemade falafel recipe I found on the internet. We rolled the batter into balls, dunked them in 375 degree oil...so far so good...until we heard some unusual crackling going on in the fryer...our precious falafels were exploding right and left in the hot oil. When we removed them, we had nothing but falafel shells with no filling in the middle (and the ones that had filling were not cooked in the inside).
We were wise however because we also bought some falafel mix from Whole Foods where you just add water (1 cup mix, 1/2+1/8 cup water, let batter sit for 15 min.), then fry them and those turned out marvelously. Unfortunately, we had already stuffed ourselves with too much pita, hummus, fried sharp white cheddar chunks coated in falafel batter (just an experiement) and failed falafel remains that we could hardly enjoy them.