Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake in a 400-degree F (204 C) oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour until softened, OR in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes. Let cool to touch.
While sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare coating. Add all ingredients EXCEPT butter to a food processor and blend until incorporated. While mixing, stream in butter. Dip your finger in to give it a taste. If you prefer it more savory, add more salt. If you prefer it sweeter, add more sugar or cinnamon.
Peel sweet potatoes and add to a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and mash – you’re not looking for a puree, but rather a rough mash. If your sweet potatoes are already pretty sweet on their own, omit the sugar. Otherwise, add it in and mix.
Set in fridge to chill and preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Scoop out scant 1 Tbsp amounts of sweet potato puree and form them into a “tot” shape – an oblong circle.
Transfer to coating and use a spoon to gently toss to coat. Transfer to baking sheet and spritz the top with olive or canola oil to help them crisp up (optional).
Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip. Bake for 20 minutes more then serve immediately. If you want them firmer, just bake them an additional 10-15 minutes. The longer you cook them the crispier they’ll get!
To freeze and bake later, form into tots, roll in coating, then transfer to baking sheet and freeze. Once thoroughly frozen, add to freezer-safe bag or container to store for later. When ready to bake, place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flip, then bake for 25-30 minutes more or until they reach the desired doneness.
You really don’t need dip for these, but if you want, ketchup or a spicy aioli of some kind would be lovely.
*Instead of panko, you could potentially sub something like almond or pecan meal, but I didn’t try it myself so I can’t vouch for it! I would assume it would be delicious, though. *If you wanted to get a savory/sweet flavor combo going, consider adding a pinch of cayenne or chili powder to the sweet potatoes and/or the coating. *Recipe makes ~30 tots. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with vegan butter.