Monday, August 24, 2009

TWO Johnnie's? Irony Only Josie Cotton Could Love

In my blog entry about Johnnie's Pastry Shop I tried to point out that there are actually two Johnnie's. The one I was writing about in my previous blog entry exists only in Massillon, Ohio. Additionally, I pointed out that Canton ALSO has a Johnnie's. Except the two locations in Canton and North Canton sport the name Johnnie's Bakery of Canton. I assure you that you cannot go into the wrong Johnnie's expecting to find products only available from the other. Like me, you will get that disdainful look and a large sigh before the counter person explains that you are in the wrong place.

Apparently I was not sufficient in explaining this difference to a number of my gentle readers because I got many comments about my prior entry talking about how good the peanut butter creamsticks are. Just to prove a point, the last time I went to get my custard filled chocolate glazed at the Johnnie's in Massillon I asked the woman working the counter if they sold the peanut butter creamsticks. She got a rather annoyed look on her face and simply said, "No." Now I don't know why the Massillon / Canton communities need two completely different donut shops named Johnnie's, but there it is. We live in an imperfect world.

So, today I decided to check out the other Johnnie's, the one located at 6652 Wise Avenue NW, North Canton, OH 44720. They can be reached at (330) 494-7390. There is no website at this time. A word of warning ... Johnnie's Bakery of Canton closes at 4 PM most days. Johnnie's Pastry Shop closes at 6 PM most days. I only found this out when I got there too late last week when I made my first attempt.

This Johnnie's Bakery is located in a small retail chain outlet. Here is a shot of the sign above the bakery:

Inside there are a number of small tables should you decide to enjoy your treats right then and there. As with the other Johnnie's, I decided to try a number of their donuts and not just the peanut butter creamstick. Here is the assortment I purchased today:

At the top left is the Bavarian filled creamstick. Directly beneath that is the peanut butter creamstick. Beneath that is one of their apple fritters. And finally, to the right hand side is Johnnie's Bakery of Canton version of their crueller. I kind of wanted to compare the two Johnnie's cruellers and see whose was better.

First up, the reason that I came:

And the inside:

And an extreme close-up of the inside:

The decorated swirls on the outside were both chocolate frosting and the peanut butter filling / frosting. Unfortunately, only about half of my creamstick was actually filled. If you tasted the chocolate frosting by itself, it definitely tasted of chocolate. But when eaten as a whole bite, the peanut butter dominated the flavor profile and the chocolate was completely lost. The donut itself was fine, not greasy, but it really didn't add anything extra to the party. On the whole I thought that this donut was good, but not sell-your-firstborn-for-a-dozen kind of good.

Next up is the Bavarian filled creamstick with a chocolate glaze:

And a shot of the inside:

This, I really liked. The chocolate glaze was nice and the Bavarian cream was nice and creamy. It definitely had a strong flavor of vanilla, but there was a supporting cast member here, too. Lemon! You don't directly taste it when you first try the creamstick as a whole, but if you try just a little bit of the Bavarian cream by itself, it is ever so subtly woven into the flavor. It is kind of like a combination of pastry cream and lemon curd. This was by far my favorite.

Third up, the crueller:

And a shot of the inside:

If there were ever any question as to whether this was a cake donut or a yeast raised one, pulling it apart for the above shot would've answered it. As I continued to pull on opposite ends of the donut, the twisted sides began to unravel and stretch just like bread. This was a very nice donut. It had layers of cinnamon and sugar layered in the dough and was topped with a simple sugar glaze. Which crueller do I prefer? Well, Johnnie's Pastry Shop in Massillon has a bigger version and they use the same eggy dough that can be found in their other donuts. This lends an extra layer of complexity that Johnnie's Bakery of Canton's version lacked. But, to be fair, you can't really go wrong with either version.

Finally, the apple fritter. This is heavier than it looks:

An inside shot:

And an extreme close-up of a problem I discovered:

The above photo (notably the cavity right in the middle of the shot) is demonstrating something that is hard to judge from the outside: undercooked dough. As I went to pull the donut apart to do an "inside" shot, the dough in the middle of the donut stretched and pulled in the same manner that raw dough does. To be sure, I then pulled off a piece of the questionable portion and ate it. Yep, raw.

I decided to taste the portion of the fritter that was fully cooked. While this had a nice density to it, and the occasional apple and cinnamon spice mixture was indeed lovely, there just wasn't enough apple for my taste. I mean, it is called an "apple fritter". That being said, the apple I did encounter was lovely, although it was there more in flavor than actual texture.

For me, today's standout was the Bavarian filled creamstick with chocolate glaze. If I had to pick which Johnnie's was the better of the two, I'd have to go with Johnnie's Pastry Shop of Massillon. But hey, if you are already a lover of the peanut butter creamstick, don't let me dissuade you. Just make sure you ask for it at the RIGHT Johnnie's.

(Additionally, the first gentle reader to make a CORRECT comment on the meaning behind the title of this post will win a free donut from the shop of their choosing. For those too far away for me to buy you a donut in person, I'll mail you the money and you can buy it for yourself. Offer good only for donuts costing up to $3. Although I can't imagine what a $3 donut would look like.)

Johnnie's Bakery of Canton on Urbanspoon


Steve C. said...

Could it be because Josie Cotton recorded the original version of "Johnny, Are You Queer?" before the Go-Go's performed it?

Tino said...

Steve C., you are correct, sir. And while another reader contacted me about an hour earlier than your comment with the correct answer, since you are the first person (and only person, so far) to correctly identify the song in the Comments section, I'll be happy to buy you a donut of your choice, too.

Contact me at my email address (available on my blog) and we'll set up a way to get you your prize.

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