1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (165ºC).
2. Put the almonds in a medium-sized bowl along with the red pepper flakes, sea salt, and several generous turns of freshly ground black pepper.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir the syrup into the almonds so they’re completely coated. (Cal mentions they will steam considerably when you add the syrup, but mine didn’t. But it’s something to be aware of.)
4. Scrape the almonds into a mesh strainer set over a bowl or pan, and let drain 5 minutes.
5. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer.
6. Bake the almonds in the oven until the almonds are golden brown, removing them from the oven to stir them twice during baking, so they brown evenly. They’ll take about 15 to 20 minutes to bake. Remove the almonds from the oven and let cool before removing them from the baking sheet.