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I have a basic crumb topping that I use to top fruit crumbles. It consists of 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 cup margarine. I like to make it in big batches and freeze in individual bags in the freezer so that I can just pull it out and sprinkle it on top of the fruit whenever I need it. The trouble is that the recipe calls for it to be made by hand, and I really really dislike making it... My hands end up hurting badly for a while after, and it takes a long time to get the margarine off.

Can I make it in a stand mixer or would that affect the quality? I would probably use a cookie paddle to mix it.

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You could use just about anything to mix that, a food processor, a mixer, a stand mixer (just about any attachment), even a blender would work in pulses. Freezing it too will work just fine. Just move fast because any of those methods will create heat, and heat will melt butter. As long as your ingredients are mixed and your butter (margarine) isn't melted, you're golden.

  • When using a blender, I add whole porridge oats which helps keep the mixture getting too sticky. I also bake the crumble topping separately spread on a tray so its super crunchy. – Luke Puplett Oct 4 '15 at 20:51
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I use a pastry blender to make my white sugar / flour / butter crumble topping. Works like a charm and much easier on the hands. This is not an electrical device:

pastry blender

It helps to use a table knife to get hard butter out from between the tines from time to time (I don't poke between the tines, just run the knife around the inside curve then the outside curve.) It's neater and faster than entirely hand-mixing with your fingers, and less likely to melt the butter. It's also quicker to clean than your mixer.

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Wire whisks also can be used in lieu of pastry blenders if mechanically stable enough (stomp, don't stir). Also, the standard whisks from a hand mixer tend to do crumbles quite well (in this case stir don't stomp - and do not overfill the mixing bowl, hand mixer whisks are good at propelling things very far if they can :). Recipe might have to be tuned in both cases. BTW, freezing the crumbles and applying them frozen straight before baking sounds like one of these occasions where freezing improves texture!

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