This is one of those things that might work, might not, but I thought I'd gamble and give it a try - a handheld leaf shredder. Turns out it works as well as I had hoped.
In my case, I got a Stihl SH86CE, their largest, a modification of a leaf blower into a vacuum shredder. Sucks up and munches the leaves up into near perfect mulch size. If you don't use the catch bag but just point the exhaust tube behind your back, it blows out the mulch nicely. I was warned that sticks could stall it, but that hasn't happened yet, and it has eaten up some fair sized twigs.
Just bought it yesterday, went to work on some of the leaf piles I had raked up, ripped right through them, left a nice scattering of mulch on the beds. It will wear you out, though - pretty torquey, definitely pulls against you.