There is a secret in Madrid, and it’s delicious. When I arrived in the Spanish capitol I heard whispers around every corner about cookies made by nuns who are not allowed to see anyone from the outside world (more on that later). Clearly, I had to try these secret nun cookies. A friend tipped me off to the location of the centuries-old monastery but getting in was up to me. Below is a guide to follow for your own pilgrimage to find these holy treats.
The cookies are located in the Monastery of Corpus Christi. Now I could easily put in a link to google maps here but you have to do at least a little detective work on your own! Finding the place is part of the fun. The doors on the left lead to a charming little church, but the monastery is on the right. Did I make the arrow big enough?
As you approach the door (featuring a poster for the sweets that lie within) you’ll see a doorbell. You’ve reached a key moment in your quest for cookies.
The hours are listed (mornings 9:30am – 1pm, afternoons 4:30pm – 6:30pm) but you want what’s above: the doorbell. Now, this is a full service monastery so not only can you get cookies from the nuns (monjas), you can also confess to a priest (sacrerdotes). I’ll assume you don’t have any sins to get off your chest, so you’ll buzz “monjas” (with a helpful arrow lest you forget). An adorable-sounding nun will greet you through the speaker and all you have to say is “dulces por favor” (cookies please) or “¿tienes dulces?” (do you have cookies) and the nun will buzz open the door. You’re in!!
When you enter, the hallway is a bit dark with confessionals looming to your right. Fear not, have faith, and just head towards the light where you will be met by Jesus.
No, not actually Jesus, a picture of him! There’s also a cool statue of a bear climbing a strawberry tree which is from Madrid’s coat of arms. You’ll see a sign that says “Torno (turnstile)” and an arrow pointing left. Go left!
Once you’ve descended into the cookie room, you’ll see a wooden turnstile. Where are the nuns, you ask? The nuns are cloistered, which means they aren’t allowed to leave the monastery or see anyone from the outside world, and you are no exception. Thus the turnstile, so they can get you your precious cookies without betraying their vows to god. You’re probably thinking, “wow the nuns built this whole turnstile system to sell cookies!”. Umm, not exactly. The turnstile is actually a “foundling wheel” where folks in days of olde could drop off unwanted infants. But don’t think about that, it will ruin the whole experience! You’re here for cookies!!
The menu is posted on the right, take a look and then say “quiero” (I want) and the name of the cookies. They come in 1kg and 1/2kg, the half kilo option being more than enough.
You’ll hear some activity behind the wall and then, like Jesus on Easter Sunday, your cookies will appear seemingly out of nowhere on the turnstile. Take your cookies and place your money on the turnstile (if you take the cookies without paying you will go straight to hell). It will once again swing around and the nuns will provide you with change if needed.
Your cookie crusade is complete! Just head back the same way you came and enjoy your heavenly dulces on the streets of Madrid. Remember, this place is a secret, so nuns the word.