Halve the Brussels sprouts (or quarter them if using larger, golf ball-size sprouts), and put into a medium saucepan with the olive oil. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the oil. Add the thyme, bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high until you have reached a simmer, and then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle bubbling simmer. Cook until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 22 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain slightly and season with additional salt and pepper. Discard the thyme and bay leaves, but keep the garlic for serving with the sprouts; the cloves will be very soft and tasty.
You will have about 1 cup of flavored olive oil left over. Keep refrigerated and use in a vinaigrette or as an accompaniment with bread within 3 days.
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