I'm perfectly aware of how to scale texture images, however my question is more referred to the layout of the change in the texture menu in the properties panel. In previous version of Blender, it was possible to do the mapping just by accessing Texture from the properties panel. However, in Blender 2.79 this is no longer possible and the only way to scale image textures is to manually add a mapping node in the node editor. Is it possible to get that feature back in the Texture panel? Thank you!
The behaviour of the Mapping rollout is the same as in the previous versions. Once you have Image Texture node (not important whether with opened image or not) you will find the Mapping rollout in the Properties editor > Textures tab:
Note that is isn't important how the texture node was added, either from the Properties editor > Material tab or from the Node editor window.
Make sure to choose name of the Image Texture node from the drop-down list of present textures in the top of the Texture tab in the Properties editor.
E.g. if you removed any node in the Node editor window and just selected Image Texture node, its mapping options won't be shown in the Textures tab, you'll need to choose it from the list.
Note also that displayed name in the drop-down list is the name of the Image Texture node (not the label). By default it is incrementing ".001", ".002" etc. Below I renamed the nodes and copied names into the labels for clarity: