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Trim off the ends of the Brussel sprouts and remove any brown outer leaves. Cut them in half from stem to end. If any are very large, cut them into quarters from stem to end so that all the pieces are fairly similar in size and cook evenly.
OPTIONAL—This step makes sure the Brussels sprouts a little more tender in the middle; that said, if you don't mind a firmer sprout, you can skip it—I like my Brussels sprouts firm/tender inside and crispy outside, so I typically skip it—Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and cover with warm tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.
Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees, according to the manufacturer's instructions (for my air fryer, that's 3 minutes of preheating).
Drain the Brussels sprouts and with a towel, lightly pat dry. Wipe out the bowl you used for soaking, then add the Brussels sprouts back to it (if you didn't soak the sprouts, simply place them in a large mixing bowl). Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then add them to your fryer basket.
Cook the sprouts for 5 minutes, then slide out the basket and shake it to toss the Brussels sprouts to promote even cooking. Cook 5 additional minutes, then slide out the basket again. The Brussels sprouts should look like they are getting nice and crispy and are almost done (if not, let them cook a minute or so longer). Add the garlic cloves and toss to coat once more. Cook 2 to 4 additional minutes, checking and shaking the basket often, until the Brussels sprouts are deeply crisp.
If adding toppings, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl (or wipe out the mixing bowl you previously used) and stir in any desired toppings. Enjoy hot.