Madrid's Secret Nun Cookies Are A Unique Treat Worth The Effort To Find

Some travelers prefer to gaze at statues, marvel at architecture, or wander through museums. Others seek out points of interest and search history books for places of importance. In Spain, some wanderers set out to purchase baked goods from nuns who are not allowed to have contact with those outside of the monastery's doors, and the excursion becomes a highlight of their visit to the country.

The Long Road Home described their quest as such, and the cooking-buying experience ended up being one of the more memorable moments of their Spanish adventure. The blogging duo wrote about their glee making their way to a wooden door to enquire about the baked treats before being let inside the monastery's walls. Inside, hallways led to a courtyard and a windowed turntable where a printed menu outlined the variety of cookies available for purchase. While this globe-trotting couple got cookie-buying tips from Rick Steves' app for Europe, we're here to give you the details should you ever find yourself wandering the streets of Madrid craving freshly baked goods. 

The nuns of Monasterio del Corpus Christi

Monasterio del Corpus Christi has housed ascetics since the early 1600s, but baking wasn't always a specialty of the religious inhabitants. In 1981, the convent was labeled a site of cultural interest, and the architecture is one of the first Baroque-style designs with a simple façade and single-nave church.

The nuns living inside aren't allowed to associate with those outside of the monastery walls, so the money-exchanging and cookie-providing experience has been tailored accordingly. Unlike buying cookies from a usual bakery, visitors are not able to view a display of treats or survey the assortment of goods that have been removed from an oven. A turntable serves as the go-between as visitors place their orders and the nuns hand over various biscuits and shortbreads. You may want to familiarize yourself with some of the menu options before your visit but be prepared for deviations from your plan. "Communication was spotty but we ended up with some delightful gluten-free almond flour cookies and a memory to last a lifetime," one Tripadvisor reviewer suggested

The hidden path to baked bliss

The monastery is located on the western end of the Plaza del Conde Miranda. Announce your arrival using the buzzer marked "Dulces" located to the side of the large wooden door then follow signs to the purchasing station. After finding the windowed turntable, you'll set your money onto the rotating platform and receive cookies in exchange. The nuns can see you, but you can't see them, and you'll be asked how many cookies you'd like to buy and which type. Visitors have snacked on almond and lemon cookies, butter shortbreads, and orange biscuits coated in powdered sugar. 

Plan your trip accordingly, as the convent is closed on Sundays for religious observance and the nuns may have different organized activities to attend to during weekdays. The earlier your visit, the more choices you'll have when it comes to available treats to buy. When you've finalized the day and time of your visit, make sure to have cash on hand with you and be prepared for a wait — this is an experience many travelers have found interest in.