Divide the basic sugar cookie dough in half (do not substitute slice-and-bake dough). On a floured surface, roll each piece out ¼ inch thick.
Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Refrigerate on baking sheets until firm.
Sprinkle with decorating sugar and bake at 350° F on parchment-lined baking sheets until just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.