This is a stalk of brussels sprouts we bought at the Regional Market. This is how it's supposed to look.
Our brussels sprouts, having just cut off the leaves to reveal the puny sprouts
Although we were able to grow big, healthy plants, we created more leaves than sprouts.
We tried all the recommendations: cutting the tops of the plants off, even going out and hitting the stalk with a stick each day—nothing worked for us.
Our daughter's dog, that visited one November, liked eating the leaves that stuck out of the snow. But we gave up growing them.