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1. Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of each squash; cut each squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Cut each squash half crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
2. Layer squash slices in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic and thyme. In a 2-cup glass measure stir together cider, broth, and brown sugar. Pour over squash in cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours.
4. In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels; discard drippings. (Do not wipe skillet clean.) Finely crumble bacon. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko; cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer toasted panko to a medium bowl; cool completely. Stir bacon pieces and chives into panko. Cover and chill until serving time.
5. To serve, transfer squash to a serving platter. Sprinkle with panko mixture.